Six instances when a Sri Lanka pair batted out entire day of a Test
Dimuth Karunaratne and Dhananjaya de Silva kept the Bangladesh bowlers at bay on day four of the Pallekele Test
Of the 25 occasions no wicket has fallen in an entire day of Test cricket, six instances belong to Sri Lanka. ESPNcricinfo relives those partnerships.
Arjuna Ranatunga and Asanka Gurusinha
Day 5 vs Pakistan, P Sara Oval, 1986
Not a lot was riding on this one. Sri Lanka had conceded a first-innings lead of 37 in a rain-affected match. Arjuna Ranatunga and Asanka Gurusinha came together late on day four and put on an unbroken partnership worth 240. All of those runs came on the wicketless final day – Ranatunga hitting 135 and Gurusinha making 116. This was against a Pakistan attack featuring Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Abdul Qadir.
Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama
Days 3 & 4, vs India, Khettarama, 1997
Although there are some flat surfaces in this list, this was probably the most lifeless of them all. India declared at 537 for 8 in their first innings, and then Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama took over, coming together at 39 for 1 to put on what was at the time a world record stand of 576. Typically, Jayasuriya was the quicker scorer hitting 36 fours and two sixes during his 799 minutes at the crease. He became Sri Lanka’s first-ever triple centurion, finishing with 340 off 578 balls. Mahanama made 225 off 561. The two were out within minutes of each other early on day five, with the team score on 615. Sri Lanka went on to make a world record total of 952 for 6, with Aravinda de Silva hitting a hundred, and Mahela Jayawardene making a half-century on debut.
Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene
Day 2, vs South Africa, SSC, 2006
The most mammoth stand of them all, and the only one in this list that contributed to a Sri Lanka victory – Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara came together with the score 14 for 2 after South Africa had been bowled out for 169. They counter-attacked in the early parts of that innings, then went on to break the Jayasuriya-Mahanama record, putting up 624 together – a world record that still stands today, in both Tests and first-class cricket. Jayawardene had the chance of breaking Brian Lara’s record for the highest individual score (400 not out) but missed out when Andre Nel bowled him for 374. Sangakkara struck 287. Between them, the pair hit 78 fours and a six.
Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews
Day 4, vs New Zealand, Basin Reserve, 2018
This partnership was remarkable for having come away from home, and against an outstanding New Zealand pace attack featuring Neil Wagner, Tim Southee and Trent Boult, when Sri Lanka were at serious risk of losing the game. Sri Lanka were on the ropes at 13 for 3 when Kusal Mendis was joined by Angelo Mathews – the visitors still 283 runs behind. Although the Basin Reserve pitch had flattened out, this was nonetheless an outstanding rearguard – Mendis frequently the aggressor, as he took on Wagner’s short-pitched deliveries with particular aplomb. The pair saw out the end of the third day, batted all day on day four, and were also together till lunch on day five, after which rain put an end to the match. Mathews made 120 not out off 323 balls. Mendis hit 141 not out off 335. The unbroken partnership was worth 274.
Dimuth Karunaratne and Dhananjaya de Silva
Day 4, vs Bangladesh, Pallekele, 2021
On a green pitch that turned out to be abominably flat, Bangladesh declared on 541 for 7. Although Sri Lanka made a good start – the openers putting on 114 together, there was still substantial work to be done when Dhananjaya de Silva joined Dimuth Karunaratne at the crease with the score on 190 for 3. The pair played out the last 10.3 overs on day three, before batting out all 76 overs on day four. Karunaratne went on to complete his first double-century, finishing day four on 234 not out. de Silva was not out on 154 at the close of play. Because Karunaratne opened the innings, he has now been on the field for all of the playing minutes across the first four days, totalling more than 24 hours. de Silva had also bowled 30 overs in Bangladesh’s innings.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf