Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene is a typical example to demonstrate a partnership in cricket. The pair batted together for fifteen years from 2000 to 2015, which is also nearly the career of both players. Google about Mahela Jayawardene and scroll down to get into the “People also searched for” section, to find Sangakkara first in the list.
If you do the same for Sangakkara, you find Jayawardene first. This might itself tell about the impact made by both partners to Sri Lankan cricket – by amassing 13368 runs in international cricket, which is the highest by any pair while batting together.
Not just within the 22 yards, but they were the best mates off the field too. Mahela Jayawardene once said:
“You feel very confident because you know there is someone to look after your interests and back you to the hilt. We have interests on and off the field and are very competitive, so that’s helped us grow as a partnership. We’ve both enjoyed the company.”
In Test cricket, Sangakkara and Jayawardene amassed 6554 runs while batting together, at a staggering average of 56.5 runs per partnership. Even though that’s a huge total of runs, nearly 10% of those were in a single innings. This was during the first Test against South Africa at RPS Colombo on 29th July, 2006, when the Sri Lankan duo partnered up for the highest partnership in Test cricket.
Mahela Jayawardene, who scored 374 and Kumar Sangakkara, scored 287, batted over 13 hours to stitch the highest partnership for any wicket, which is 624 runs. This is also the highest partnership in all first-class cricket.
Several records were broken by the two individuals, the pair, and also the team. Most of them are records even now, after thirteen years. Let’s have a look at them:-
Records broken during the Mahela Jayawardene – Kumar Sangakkara World Record Partnership
374 – Mahela Jayawardene’s score, which is the highest by a Sri Lankan in Test cricket. It is currently the fourth-highest score in Tests and the second-highest by a captain. While Jayawardene was looking to score a quadruple century and break Brian Lara’s record, he was tricked by an Andre Nel delivery which kept low, went past his defence to hit the stumps. This made 374 by Jayawardene the highest score by someone who was dismissed ‘bowled.’
287 – Jayawardene’s compatriot Kumar Sangakkara scored 287 runs, which is the highest score by a player without top-scoring in that innings. It is also the highest by a player in a Test who did not win man-of-the-match since they were awarded. It was Sangakkara’s highest score until he scored 319 against Bangladesh eight years later.
624 – The total partnership between the two, which is still the highest for any wicket in both Test and first-class cricket. The next highest partnership in Tests was 576 by the fellow Sri Lankans Roshan Mahanama and Sanath Jayasuriya in 1997, and the next highest in first-class cricket is 594* by Maharashtra players Swapnil Gugale and Ankit Bawne in 2016.
157 – South Africans usually find the subcontinent conditions hot and humid, and the bowlers were made to sweat more, as Sangakkara and Jayawardene made them forget what a wicket is. The pair lasted for nearly two full days of play, as they bat 157 overs, which is also a record. The second-highest partnership by overs batted is between Herschelle Gibbs and the debutant Jacques Rudolph, 123.2 overs against Bangladesh in 2003.
2 – This is the second partnership of over 500 runs in Test cricket, both by a Sri Lankan pair and both at Colombo. The first time it happened was in 1997, while Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama shared a partnership of 576 runs when Sri Lanka scored a record total of 952/6 in Test cricket. Interestingly Mahela Jayawardene, who was one of the partners in the second 500+ partnership, made his debut in the first 500+ partnership nearly nine years ago.
2 – Mahela and Sanga provided the second instance of two batsmen crossing 250+ runs in the same Test innings. The first instance was by Garry Sobers, who scored 365, and by Conrad Hunte, who scored 260 – against Pakistan in 1958. And it didn’t happen after this match.
14/2 – The score at which Sri Lankans were struggling at the beginning of the epic partnership. While Makhaya Ntini was the no.2 ranked Test bowler at that time, Dale Steyn was relatively new to the international scene. Yet, Steyn picked the wickets of the Sri Lankan openers Upul Tharanga and Sanath Jayasuriya for 7 and 4, respectively. Then Dilshan, who might have padded up, probably wouldn’t think that he needs to wait two more days for his chance to bat. The team total of 756/5d is the highest team total, which came after both openers are out for single digits. The second best is Australia’s 617 against Pakistan in 1980, after openers Julien Wiener and Bruce Laird were out for single digits.
2 – Number of lifes Kumar Sangakkara was given in consecutive balls against Dale Steyn when his score was just 7. First, Jacques Rudolph dropped the catch at gully, and the next ball he faced, he was clean bowled but was saved since Steyn overstepped. The two chances missed accounted for 280 more runs to Sangakkara and 609 more runs to the partnership with Jayawardene. However, the pair was more careful and didn’t offer such easy chances to the fielding team, until the partnership got broken.
221 – While Dale Steyn finished with figures of 3/129, it was still a decent one considering the context. But Nicky Boje conceded 221 runs in 65 overs without picking a wicket, which is still the second-worst bowling figures in a Test innings. Only one had worse figures – which was Khan Mohammad conceding 259 runs without a wicket against West Indies in 1958.
587 – The first innings lead Sri Lanka achieved, which is the highest in Test cricket. The huge total of 756/5d came after they bowled out South Africa for a paltry total of 169, that needed a 22-year old AB de Villiers top-scoring. The only other lead higher than 500 runs was at Lord’s in 2003, when the visitors South Africa were on the positive end, scoring 682/6d after bundling out England for 173.
10 – Total wickets Muttiah Muralitharan took in this match, to achieve his 17th ten-wicket haul in Tests. The presence of Muralitharan on a Colombo track might have made Sri Lanka trust a win, with Sangakkara and Jayawardene batting non-stop instead of declaring at a team score of around 600. Muralitharan took 6 of the wickets in the second innings, where South Africa showed greater fight by surviving 157.2 overs, which is two balls more than the huge partnership earlier.