Opening partnerships are key to any format of the game as they set the platform for the rest of the batsmen to thrive on, and it is even more crucial in the Test format. It is not an easy job to open in Tests, and to be able to build long innings without losing wickets is something extraordinary. The openers are exposed to the new ball in longer formats which takes a toll on their batting average significantly as well. But some openers have made it through all the complications and have conquered the bowling attack with excellent concentration and technique.
Coming back to that, let us look at the top 10 highest opening partnerships in Test Cricket History.
10) Geoff Marsh and Mark Taylor – 329Embed from Getty Images
Former Australian openers Geoff Marsh and Mark Taylor created an excellent partnership of 329 for the first wicket in 1989 in the fifth Test against England. Marsh was dismissed for 138 while Mark Taylor continued his dominance scoring 219 in the innings. Australia put up a mammoth total of 602 on the board in their first innings, and they went on to win the Test by an innings and 180 runs.
9) Marvan Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya – 335
Two of Sri Lanka’s finest batsmen Marvan Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya, hold the record for the highest opening partnership from the country in the Test format. In 2000 at Kandy, Atapattu and Jayasuriya added 335 for the first wicket against Pakistan, and Atapattu remained 207 not out in the innings, with Jayasuriya falling for 188. Only 155.4 overs were bowled in the Test, and the match went on to be drawn.
8) Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs – 338Embed from Getty Images
This happened in 2003 at Birmingham when South Africa’s Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs plundered the bowling attack of England with a 338 run opening partnership in the first innings of the first Test. Smith went on to score 277 in the innings while his partner Gibbs was dismissed for 179. It was a high-scoring Test, and the match was drawn in the end.
7) Leonard Hutton and Cyril Washbrook – 359
In 1948, in the second Test at Johannesburg, England’s Leonard Hutton and Cyril Washbrook created an opening partnership of 359 against South Africa, which happened to be the highest opening stand for England in the longer format until now. Leonard Hutton scored 158 in the innings, while his partner Cyril Washbrook managed to score 195 in the first innings of the Test. South Africa went on to draw the game after following on in their second innings.
6) Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs – 368
Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs produced yet another great partnership for the first wicket in Cape Town in 2003 against Pakistan, and it was pure class from the South African openers. Smith was dismissed for 151 while Gibbs continued his attacking play to bring up an excellent double century. In the end, South Africa went on to win the Test by an innings and 142 runs.
5) Bill Lawry and Bob Simpson – 382
In 1965 at Bridgetown, the Australian Test openers Bill Lawry and Bob Simpson created a huge opening stand of 382 for the first wicket against the West Indian bowling attack. Both the openers scored double centuries in the innings, while the number three batters Bob Cowper also got into the act with a century in the same innings. However, West Indies managed to equalise the batting efforts, and the match was drawn in the end.
4) Glenn Turner and Terry Jarvis – 387Embed from Getty Images
Former New Zealand’s openers Glenn Turner and Terry Jarvis still hold the record for the highest opening partnership of 387 from their country in Tests, and they achieved it in 1972 at the George Town against West Indies. Turner made 259 in the first innings for New Zealand, while Terry Jarvis was dismissed for 182. The match was drawn in the end, with both teams batting really well.
3) Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid – 410Embed from Getty Images
Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid are two of the most contrasting batsmen in the extended format of cricket. The former likes to take on the bowling in the longer format while the latter sticks to his limitations and happily plays those long innings. In the 2006 tour to Pakistan in the 1st Test at Lahore, India’s openers Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid were on the verge of creating history. Still, they fell short by three runs to become India’s highest opening partnership run scorers. Sehwag scored a brilliant 254 in the innings of just 247 deliveries with 47 four and one six while his partner Dravid remained unbeaten on 128. The Test was drawn in the end.
2) Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy – 413
This was way back in 1956 when India’s Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy put on a stand of 413 for the first wicket against New Zealand at the 5th Test in Chennai. Vinoo Mankad made an excellent 231 in the innings, while Roy was dismissed for 173 in the end. This remained the highest opening partnership in the format for a long time until it was broken in 2008. India went on to win the match by an innings and 109 runs in the end, and it was sheer dominance from the Indian batters in that game.
1) Neil Mckenzie and Graeme Smith – 415Embed from Getty Images
South Africa’s Neil Mckenzie and Graeme Smith still hold the record for the highest opening partnership of 415 in Tests, and it came in 2008 against Bangladesh in the 2nd game of the series at Chattogram. Both the openers made double centuries in the innings and played almost two days entirely between them. Bangladesh had no answers to South Africa’s assault, and in the end, the Proteas won the match by an innings and 205 runs. Graeme Smith was adjudged the player of the match for his valiant knock of 232 in just 277 balls with 33 fours and one six in the innings.