Jayawardene's record-breakers

Captain's staggering 624-run stand with Sangakkara rewrites history books

Sri Lanka's captain, Mahela Jayawardene, scored a magnificent 374 and helped break the record for the highest partnership in Test matches in a mammoth 624-run stand with Kumar Sangakkara on the third day of the First Test against South Africa yesterday.

Jayawardene's marathon innings, the highest score by a Sri Lankan and the fourth highest in the all-time individual list, guided his team to a formidable 756 for 5 declared.

The hosts' score, the second highest in history by Sri Lanka, left South Africa facing a daunting 587-run deficit. Their fight for survival started well, with the openers, Andrew Hall (13 not out) and Jacques Rudolph (24 not out), taking them to 43 without loss at the close.

Jayawardene and Sangakkara put on 624 in 160.3 overs before Andrew Hall finally found the outside edge of the latter's bat with a full-length delivery. The previous 576-run record, set by compatriots Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama against India in 1997, was broken when the South Africa wicketkeeper, Mark Boucher, conceded four byes off the bowling of the left-arm spinner Nicky Boje.

Celebrated with firecrackers around the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, the new milestone was reached with Jayawardene on 278 and Sangakkara on 273. The partnership was also the highest stand in first-class cricket.

When he was finally bowled by an Andre Nel delivery that kept low, the 29-year-old Jayawardene, who also passed 6,000 Test runs during his innings, had faced 572 balls and hit 43 boundaries, including one six. His elegant innings was all the more remarkable for the fact that he did not offer South Africa's fielders a single chance and was only rarely beaten.

The crowd had swollen throughout the afternoon as spectators sensed an opportunity to watch Jayawardene break Brian Lara's record Test score of 400. But the carnival atmosphere was punctured when his off-stump was knocked back shortly after South Africa took the second new ball.

The previous highest score by a Sri Lankan was the 340 scored by Jayasuriya against India at Colombo in 1997. Jayawardene and Sangakkara also became only the second pair in Test history to score 250s in the same innings, after Sir Garfield Sobers and Conrad Hunte for West Indies against Pakistan in 1957-58.

Sangakkara's 287, also a personal best after his 270 against Zimbabwe in 2004, spanned 457 deliveries and included 35 fours.

After Sangakkara's dismissal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, who had to wait for more than 11 hours to come in, hit 45 to add another 100 with his captain, who declared after his innings ended.

"It was a fantastic feeling when we got there," Jayawardene said about the 624-run partnership record. "Kumar and I are very good friends on and off the field, and I am privileged to be involved in this partnership with him."

The smash hits: Highest individual test scores

B C Lara 400no West Indies v England, Antigua 2004

M L Hayden 380 Australia v Zimbabwe, Perth 2003

B C Lara 375 West Indies v England, Antigua 1994

D P M D Jayawardene 374 Sri Lanka v South Africa, Colombo 2006

Best test stands

K C Sangakkara & Jayawardene 624 Sri Lanka v South Africa 2006

S T Jayasuriya & R S Mahanama 576 Sri Lanka v India, Colombo 1997

A H Jones & M D Crowe 467 New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Wellington 1990

W H Ponsford & D G Bradman 451 England v Australia, The Oval 1934

Message from Oz: You're welcome down here, Fred

Justin Langer flew back to Australia last week in fine fettle after spending some quality time with Somerset. By scoring 344 against Surrey, the Aussie opener proved the completeness of his recovery from a brutal blow to the head in the Johannesburg Test in the spring. Langer is happy with the idea that Andrew Flintoff should play club games in Australia in November to assist his own recovery. "Any game of cricket does you good," he says. Although Langer doubts whether Flintoff would get enough games to make the trip worthwhile, Western Suburbs in Sydney have already offered him a berth.

Of all England's injuries, Langer identifies Flintoff's as the most crucial: "He was the catalyst of England's Ashes victory." No black propaganda from Langer here: "England have got a very good side. No doubt about it. It's going to be a good series."

His 344 was only one run short of the highest score by an Australian in England (Charlie Macartney got 345.) "Nice, isn't it," says Langer. "It was an easy pitch, but Surrey's is probably the best bowling attack in the country." Mostly, he played Twenty20 cricket. He arrived a sceptic and left a convert. "I really enjoyed it," he says.

Stephen Fay

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Louis van Gaal
football
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own