HIGHEST OPENING PARTNERSHIPS FOR INDIA IN TEST CRICKET.

VINOO MANKAD & PANKAJ ROY {413 runs vs NZ}

The highest ever opening partnership for India dates back to 6th January 1956 when a cricketing legend who has an entire rule in cricket terminology based on him put together a whooping 413 run stand with his partner Pankaj Roy for the first wicket against the now known Black Caps. He is none other than Vinoo Mankad who ran out the batsman backing up towards the non-striker’s end. The rule of “Mankading” was hence derived after his popular incident. The most recent batsman that had to sacrifice his wicket to this rule was Rajasthan Royals opener, Jos Butler, against Punjab Kings where Ravichandran Ashwin was the bowler.

This 413 run stand was then broken by McKenzie & Graeme Smith after 52 years in 2008 against Bangladesh. Both Mankad & Roy died seeing their names still at the top. This still remains the second-highest partnership for the first wicket.

Mankad & Roy came out to open the first inning for India in the 5th and final Test of the series at Madras. They were back as an opening pair after a lean patch as a pair. The pitch on the first day was pretty pleasant for batting & both these players left no stones unturned and went on punishing the Kiwi bowlers continuously. With the immense pressure of proving themselves as openers, both these batsmen firstly hesitated to play scoring shots. But as soon as they scored past the 100 run mark, their confidence and the determination to be at the crease kept them going. At the end of the first day, India was 234 for no loss with Roy on 114 & Mankad on 109. They took off from where they left and went on to have a 400 run stand following Mankad’s second double hundred of the series.

After this amazing opening partnership, India declared for 537 and didn’t have to bat once again as they bowled New Zealand out for 209 & 219 and quite easily won the match by an innings and 109 runs.

SEHWAG & DRAVID {410 runs vs PAK}

Whenever we talk about the top Indian openers, Virender Sehwag is the person who always comes to our minds first. That is for a reason as he has been the most impactful opener of all times & is well known for scoring a boundary of the first ball. Sehwag and the “WALL” of Indian cricket, put up a mammoth first wicket partnership against the Arch rivals Pakistan in response to a huge first-innings 679 from the Pakistan XI.

Those were the days when the cricketing world could witness the greatest rivalry of all time. Yes, we are talking about INDIA vs PAKISTAN playing bi-lateral series. On January 13, 2006, these rivals were set to take on each other in the 1st Test of the 3 match series. Pakistan Captain, Inzamam-Ul-Haq won the toss and opted to bowl first. This record-filled test match started with an amazing 3rd wicket partnership between Younus Khan (who was run-out after scoring 199 runs) & Mohammad Yousuf, followed by two quickfire 80-ball centuries by Shahid Afridi & Kamran Akmal. These 4 centuries helped Pakistan to post a mammoth 679 run first inning total.

India being on the back foot was under a lot of pressure and was in need of a great start. Sehwag and Dravid turned the momentum completely into their favor with Sehwag scoring a blistering 254 from 247 balls with a strike rate over 100. Sehwag got complete support from the other end in the form of defensive play by Dravid who scored 128 runs. These two completely different strikers of the ball never let the Pakistani bowler’s settle as on one end Sehwag was scoring very quickly and Dravid continuously defending on the other. The match ended up in a draw, although giving us a lot of records. This 410-run stand is still the 3rd highest opening partnership to date.

MAYANK AGARWAL & ROHIT SHARMA {317 against SA, 2019}

After a lot of unsuccessful opening pairs being tested by India, the right pair was finally found as THE HITMAN had made a pretty solid comeback into the longest format of the game. This 317-runs opening stand between the two explosive batsmen from India became the highest ever partnership against South Africa. In the entire home series against South Africa, these two batsmen gave the Indian team some amazing starts including one double century & one century by Mayank Agarwal and one double century, and two centuries by Rohit Sharma.

Rohit Sharma who was opening for the first time in Test Cricket scored 176 runs while his young partner at the other end contributed with 137 runs. The duo shifted gears as soon as the South African spinners came to bowl. Both Rohit & Mayank were eyeing for as many runs as possible and while trying to do so, Rohit became too greedy and missed an off-spinner bowled by Keshav Maharaj. On the other hand, Mayank completed his Double-Century to put India in a match-winning position.

Both the openers were leading run-scorers for the entire series, Rohit Sharma was awarded the Man of The Series trophy for his 529 runs in the 3 match series that India managed to white-wash quite easily.

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