Test cricket has witnessed some of the finest batting performances over the years. A good opening partnership lays the foundation for the rest of the innings for the rest of the team and gives you the comfort of performing more conveniently without any hassle. There have been a lot of legendary partnerships over the years that are still remembered by the people.
In this article, we look at some of the top opening batting partnerships made by batsmen in test cricket.
1. Neil McKenzie and Graeme Smith vs Bangladesh (2008)
In the second test of the series against Bangladesh in 2008, South African openers Neil McKenzie and Graeme Smith opened the innings for their country. South Africa having already won the first test looked confident in continuing from where they left off. And to no one’s surprise, the South African openers did not disappoint. Kallis and McKenzie scored double tons and notched a 415-run opening partnership against their opponents to ensure that they did not give it easy on the second test as well. Bangladesh were forced to follow in the innings as South Africa eased past in the match.
2. Vinod Mankad and Pankaj Roy vs New Zealand (1956)
Back in the days when the Indian cricketing team was beginning to make its mark in cricket, batsmen Vinod Mankad and Pankaj Roy had already cemented a stepping stone. It was at the 5th test against New Zealand in 1956 where India had already won the series. Both the batsmen registered a 413-run opening partnership ensuring that India did not go loose in the final encounter. While Mankad scored a double hundred, Pankaj Roy made 173 runs helping India close the final encounter of the series with a win.
3. Virendra Sehwag and Rahul Dravid vs Pakistan 2006
It was in the very first encounter of the test series between arch-rivals India and Pakistan in 2006 that Pakistan posted a mammoth 679 run score on the board. As the possibility of imposing the follow-on on the Indian side grew, openers Virendra Sehwag and captain Rahul Dravid sought to take things differently. The duo bounced back with a 410-run partnership where Sehwag scored a double-century and Dravid breezed past with 128 runs ensuring the former could play more freely as India eliminated the second innings and drew the match.
4. Glenn Turner and Terry Jarvis vs. West Indies 1972
New Zealand openers Glenn Turner and Terry Jervis had it on their shoulders to close the deficit of 350+ score by the West Indies in the first innings in the fifth test of the series. Turner and Jarvis left no stone unturned in building the cushion for their team. The duo opened their innings with a partnership more than the target itself. While Turner scored 259 runs, Jarvis hit 182 runs ensuring the match went for a draw.
5. Bill Lawry and Bob Simpson vs. West Indies 1965
In the fourth test between West Indies and Australia, the former were leading the series when they had to build the momentum from thereon. Skipper Bob Simpson and Bill Lowry had the onus bouncing back against the West Indies. Both the batsmen opened with an amazing 382-run partnership where Lawry scored 210 runs and Simpson went through with 201. The partnership couldn’t result in a win and ended in a draw.
6. Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs vs. Pakistan 2006
The opening pair of Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs was considered the most deadly and destructive pair of their time. The duo entered the second test against Pakistan with the exact same intent, having already won the first. While Smith scored a fabulous 151, Gibbs went on to score a double century at 228, putting a massive opening partnership of 368 runs on the board, which remains the second-highest by any South African pair.
7. Leonard Hutton and Cyril Washbrook vs. South Africa 1948
It was at the iconic Marylebone Cricket Ground where England played South Africa in a test series after winning its first match. Openers Leonard Hutton and Cyril Washbrook were all set to open the innings for their country and did not falter. The duo posted a fabulous 359-run partnership to ensure the smooth sailing of their team. While Hutton scored 158 runs, Washbrook fell short of his double at 195.
8. Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs vs. England 2003
A few years before the legendary pair of Gibbs and Smith would score the second-highest opening partnership for their country, the duo had already posted a record they would eventually break. The duo scored an impressive 338-run opening stand where Smith scored a double century 277 and Gibbs went out for 179. However, the duo would unleash their potential to no avail as the match ended in a draw.
9. Kraig Braithwaite and Tagenarine Chanderpaul vs. Zimbabwe 2023
The most recent partnership on the list, the opening duo of Tagnenarine Chanderpaul and Kraig Braithwaite was up against Zimbabwe in the first test of the series in 2023. Both the players rose up to the occasion to score the highest-ever opening partnership for their country with 336 runs where Chanderpaul scored a double hundred while Braithwaite also notched 182 on the board.
10. Marvan Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya vs Pakistan 2000
Sri Lankan opening pair Marvan Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya scored one of the highest-ever opening partnerships in the history of test cricket. Sri Lanka had already lost the series and salvaged pride by taking the last one. While Jayasuriya fell short of a double century at 188, Atapattu remained unbeaten at 207, however, the duo would score to no avail as the match was drawn but the Sri Lankan side managed to avoid a clean-sweep.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the highest opening partnership in test cricket?
Neil McKenzie and Graeme Smith hold the record for the highest opening partnership of 415 against Bangladesh.
Who has the highest opening partnership for India in tests?
Vinod Mankad and Pankaj Roy vs New Zealand (1956) hold the record for the highest-ever opening partnership in tests.