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Taking a stand

Martin Williamson takes a look at the stories behind the record stands for each wicket in Test cricket ... all XI of them

The partnership between Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara in Colombo last week not only broke the Test third-wicket stand, but went on to establish the pair as the holders of the highest partnership of all time. We look back at the 11 (there are two tied for the tenth wicket) highest stands for each wicket in Test history

Pankaj Roy and Vinoo Mankad resume their record stand at Madras © WCM
1st - 413 - Pankaj Roy & Vinoo Mankad, India v New Zealand, 1955-56
The final Test of a long series was dominated by Roy and Mankad, the Indian opening batsmen, who made the most of an easy-paced pitch and weary bowlers in an eight-hour stand which only ended after lunch on the second day. Mankad's 231 surpassed the Indian individual Test record of 223 which he and Polly Umrigar each made earlier in the series, while India's 537 for 3 set up a new record total for them. The stand was also the best by an Indian pair in first-class cricket, exceeding 293 by Vijay Merchant and Mankad for the Indians against Sussex at Hove in 1946.
2nd - 576 - Roshan Mahanama & Sanath Jayasuriya Sri Lanka v India, 1997
Another lifeless pitch allowed Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama, whose Test career had been on the line because of inconsistent performances, to grind India down. Asked to fill the No. 3 slot after the premature retirement of Asanka Gurusinha, Mahanama came good with a career-best 225. Jayasuriya batted for 799 minutes for 340, at the time the fourth-highest innings in Tests and the first triple-hundred by a Sri Lankan in first-class cricket. Although the match was dead, the authorities opened the gates for free and around 25,000 packed into the R.Premadasa Stadium to see if Jayasuriya, on 326, could pass the then-record Test score of 375 or whether Sri Lanka, on 587 for 1, could eclipse England's 903 for 7 made in 1938. Office workers abandoned work, and soldiers fighting the Tamil Tigers gathered round their television sets. "For a few minutes we almost forgot about the war," one said. But Mahanama fell lbw to Anil Kumble - a brave decision by Sri Lankan umpire KT Francis - 25 minutes after the restart and Jayasuriya was then dismissed in the next over, flinging his bat in the air in disappointment as the crowd went silent. "I am disappointed for myself, my friends and fans," a weeping Jayasuriya told reporters. Sri Lankan businessmen were equally distraught. "People in my office were sobbing," said Dilan Ekanayake, a Colombo stockbroker. "They were so unhappy that no-one was doing any work."
3rd -624 - Mahela Jayawardene & Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka v South Africa, 2006
In the first 54 overs of this Test, 12 wickets fell - the 13th was not taken until the third day when another 157 overs had elapsed. By that time Jayawardene and Sangakkara had broken every partnership record in the book, finally eclipsing the daddy of them all, the first-class record stand of 577 between Vijay Hazare and Gul Mohammad in the Baroda v Holkar tie of 1947-48.

Peter May and Colin Cowdrey return to the pavilion during their stand of 411 © Getty Images
4th - 411 - Colin Cowdrey & Peter May England v West Indies, 1957
Sonny Ramadhin had mesmerised England in 1950, and at the start of the 1957 West Indies tour, it seemed he would again, taking 7 for 49 as England were bowled out for 186 in the first Test at Edgbaston. West Indies replied with 474, and then reduced England to 113 for 3. But then the game, the series , and indeed Ramadhin's career, turned on its head. Cowdrey and May negated Ramadhin's spin by lunging forward, often using their pads, and barely an over went by without a leg-before appeal. On the third day Ramadhin's figures were 48-20-74-0, his burden increased by injuries to two of his side's front-line bowlers. As the wonderful partnership extended into the final day, records tumbled, but England were not out of the woods until well into the afternoon. Only when Cowdrey brought up his hundred in almost eight hours did he open up - his third fifty took 55 minutes. May's role was even more remarkable, batting from 5.40pm on Saturday through to 3.20 pm on Tuesday. "The perfect stylist and excelling with the cover drive," Wisden noted, "he made very few false strokes for such a long stay." Ramadhin was broken. His figures were 98-35-179-2, and by his own admission, he was never the same force again. "The magician," commented The Times, "had lost his magic."
5th - 405 - Don Bradman & Sid Barnes, Australia v England, 1946-47
At the start of the first post-war Ashes series Bradman was not even sure to play. He was out of sorts, far from well, and there was widespread speculation he would retire. In typical fashion, he bounced back with a big hundred in the first Test, but in the next game at Sydney, as England batted, he sat out most of the first day after pulling a muscle in his thigh. Dropping down the order to No. 6, he joined Barnes with Australia on 159 for 4 and they batted for over six-and-a-half hours to kill off England's hopes. Bradman initially had to rely on a runner, and was clearly in considerable discomfort. Both men made 234 - Bradman in 397 minutes, Barnes in 649, and both were dismissed within an over of each other. At the time it was a fifth-wicket world record for first-class cricket and the second biggest in a Test.

Don Bradman and Gubby Allen, England's captain, return to the pavilion during a rain delay in the Melbourne Test © WCM
6th - 346 - Jack Fingleton & Don Bradman, Australia v England, 1936-37
This stand turned a series on its head. England were 2-0 up with three to play when Australia slid to 97 for 5 in their second innings at Melbourne, only 221 ahead. Both sides had declared their first innings to try to expose their opponents' batsmen to a drying pitch, and when Australia batted again, Bradman reversed the batting order to protect his frontline batsmen. Bradman, who was suffering from influenza, and Fingleton, who usually opened, came together on the third afternoon - when 87,798 were packed in to the MCG - and were not separated until near the end of the fourth. England were set 689 to win and went down to a 365-run defeat. They also lost the remaining Tests, Australia retaining the Ashes and becoming the only side to come back from being 0-2 down to win a five-match series.
7th - 347 Clairmonte Depeiaza & Denis Atkinson, West Indies v Australia, 1954-55
Australia were 2-0 up in the five-match series when the two sides came to Bridgetown for the fourth Test, and when they made 668 and reduced West Indies to 143 for 7, a third win appeared inevitable. But Atkinson and Depeiaza came to the rescue, defying the Australians for more than a day. Atkinson, the leading personality in the stand, hit one six and twenty-six fours. Few saw the early stages of the record stand, The Gleaner reporting only 4450 in the ground as spectators had become disenchanted after three days of Australian dominance. The pair had their luck. Depeiaza should have been run out early on, and Atkinson was caught in the covers off a Keith Miller no-ball, and then again reprieved when stranded mid-pitch only for Gil Langley, the wicketkeeper, to fumble the ball. The following morning a much larger crowd packed the stands ... only to watch Depeiaza fall without adding to his overnight score. He was soon followed by Atkinson who had added just four. For both men, it was to be their only Test hundred. In the end Australia's lead was restricted to 158, and as the pitch showed signs of wear Johnson did not enforce the follow-on and the match ended in a draw.

Wasim Akram celebrates bringing up his double hundred © The Cricketer
8th - 313 - Saqlain Mushtaq & Wasim Akram, Pakistan v Zimbabwe, 1996-97
Pakistan were 183 for 6 replying to Zimbabwe's 375 when Wasim Akram, their captain, strode to the middle, reportedly livid at the shots some of his top-order batsmen had perished to - he was also probably smarting from seeing banners stating "We hate Wasim, we love Aqib" after local boy Aqib Javed had been omitted. What followed was a remarkable onslaught as he hammered an unbeaten 257 in eight hours ten minutes off 363 balls. It was the highest score by a No. 8 in Tests and included 12 sixes - nine off Paul Strang - the most in a Test innings, as well as 22 fours. He found an ally in Saqlain, who was happy to play second fiddle in his seven-hour 79. "Wasim's astonishing display of hitting was intermingled with watchful periods of defence of which few thought him capable," observed The Guardian. "Apart from two swept sixes, it was the crowd at long-off and long-on who were regularly diving for cover." Zimbabwe's Dave Houghton described the pitch as the slowest he had seen, explaining it offered no bounce and virtually no movement off the seam to either side, although it did turn square.
9th - 195 - Pat Symcox & Mark Boucher, South Africa v Pakistan, 1997-98
This stand was the highlight of an otherwise utterly forgettable match, the start of which had been delayed by 24 hours after Mohammad Akram and offspinner Saqlain Mushtaq claimed they had been mugged outside the team hotel. Later reports said they had been seen at two exotically named nightspots and that the injuries had actually been sustained there. South Africa were 166 for 8 on the first day when Boucher, the youngest member of the side, was joined by Symcox, the oldest. Symcox, a man who described batting as his hobby, dominated with 108 from 157 deliveries, with 17 fours, in an innings of great character and resolve. He was obdurate against the pace of Waqar Younis and the speed of Shoaib Ahktar and often brutal against the spin of Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain. Unsurprisingly, Symcox was summoned to see the match referee midway through his innings after a verbal confrontation with Akhtar. His was the first Test hundred by a No. 10 since 1902. The only other fireworks were provided by the weather as the match was washed out after heavy storms.

Brian Hastings is bowled to end the record last-wicket stand at Auckland © The Cricketer
10th - 151 - Brian Hastings & Richard Collinge, New Zealand v Pakistan, 1972-73
When Collinge joined Hastings, New Zealand needed two runs to avoid the follow-on; by the time they were separated the first-innings scores in the four-day Test were level. Wisden praised Collinge who, it said, "batted with extraordinary solidity and aggression. Using his considerable reach, he played the spinners safely and from time to time let go with powerful attacking strokes." And the pair did not hang around, cracking the runs in 155 minutes to beat the world record of 130 set by Rhodes and Foster almost seventy years earlier. Intikhab Alam, Pakistan's captain, suffered more than most. At lunch on the third day he had taken 6 for 78; by the time he walked in at tea he had 6 for 127. Later that day, despite winning the series, he found out that he had been sacked by his board back home and replaced by Majid Khan.
10th - 151 - Mushtaq Ahmed & Azhar Mahmood, Pakistan v South Africa, 1997-98
Debutant Mahmood had already put on 74 for the ninth wicket when joined by Mushtaq, but while he had been the silent partner in the stand with Waqar Younis, in this one he really opened up, thumping extra-cover drives off the front and back foot. After an overnight break, the pair added another 111 runs. Mahmood finished unbeaten on 128, his maiden first-class century, after 349 minutes, having struck 11 fours and a six. Mushtaq also flayed a tired attack, lifting the offspinner Symcox for three sixes and a four in one over on his way to a maiden Test fifty. They had equalled Hastings and Collinge's record when Hansie Cronje bowled Mushtaq. What odds on that? The rest of the day wasn't too dull either. Police mounted a baton charge and fired tear gas to disperse stone-throwing students after the ground became swamped when the authorities allowed free entry because of the Queen's visit.

Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo