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India-New Zealand Tests: Highest partnerships recorded by Indian batsmen

Among the 59 Tests which have been played between India and New Zealand spread across the last sixty-five and a half years, there have been numerous landmark efforts undertaken by batsmen from both countries.

The old-timers will recall the opening wicket partnership of 413 runs between Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy against the Kiwis in 1956, which stood as a record for the highest opening partnership in Test cricket for 52 years until it was broken by Neil McKenzie and Graeme Smith, who added 415 runs for the opening wicket against Bangladesh in 2008. Mankad and Roy’s partnership in the Chennai Test helped India to an innings and 109 runs victory.

There have been seven 200+ partnerships for India against New Zealand over the years, including the opening stand between Mankad and Roy.

Here’s the list of the 200+ stands:

Overview of three highest stands for India against New Zealand

Opening stand between Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy of 413 runs in Chennai 1956

The legendary Indian all-rounder Vinoo Mankad and batsman Pankaj Roy were opening the batting together at Chennai in the fifth Test of the 1955-56 series after having done so in the first Test at Hyderabad. Mankad had opened the batting with Vijay Mehra in the second Test at Mumbai and with Nari Contractor in the fourth Test at Kolkata; he had not played in the third Test at Delhi. The all-rounder had scored 223 runs in the Mumbai Test to help lay a solid foundation for India to register an innings and 27 runs victory. Pankaj Roy had not played the second and third Tests and had scored a century, while batting at number three, upon comeback in the fourth Test at his home venue in Kolkata.

Indian captain Polly Umrigar won the toss and opted to bat at the Corporation Stadium in Chennai. Mankad and Roy subsequently held ground and batted throughout the day. This was the first Test to be played at the Corporation Stadium and in another pioneering effort, Mankad and Roy were the first opening pair for India who had batted through the day in a Test match.

Earlier, both these players had a one-century opening stand of 106 runs against England at the Lord’s Test in 1952. They had also combined to register a 103* stand for the fourth wicket against England at Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 1951.

In the Chennai Test, Mankad and Roy broke the then-record opening stand for India of 203 runs set by Vijay Merchant and Mushtaq Ali against England in Manchester in 1936. The New Zealand attack comprising of Johnny Hayes, Tony MacGibbon, Harry Cave, Alex Moir and Matt Poore was blunted efficiently by Mankad and Roy for the better part of the second day as well. On the second day, the two players surpassed the then world record opening stand of 359 runs registered by England’s Len Hutton and Cyril Washbrook against South Africa at Johannesburg in 1948.

Roy scored 173 runs before he was bowled by Poore with India at 413. Mankad went on to score 231 runs, which remained the highest score registered by an Indian batsman for 27 years. This record was broken by Sunil Gavaskar in December 1983 when he scored 236* against West Indies at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

India’s captain Umrigar declared with the score at 537/3 and three days to go in the Test match. The legendary leg-spinner Subhash Gupte who had a match haul of 9/145 was ably supported by off-spinner Jasubhai Patel who returned match figures of 4/91 and Mankad himself who recorded figures of 4/97. New Zealand were bundled out for 209 runs in the first innings and 219 runs in the second innings after being asked to follow on.

India won by an innings and 109 runs and registered a series victory of 2-0. But the most memorable feat was achieved by Mankad and Roy who had registered themselves in the history books with that 413-run opening stand.

Fourth-wicket stand of 365 runs between Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane in Indore 2016

The New Zealand team toured India in 2016 to play a three-Test series. The third Test of the series was played at Holkar Stadium in Indore. The series was already decided as India had won the first two Tests at Kanpur and Kolkata to take an unassailable 2-0 lead.

Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first on a true Holkar Stadium wicket. The captain walked out to bat at the fall of Gautam Gambhir’s wicket with the score reading 60/2. He was joined subsequently by Ajinkya Rahane after Cheteshwar Pujara got out with India at 100/3 in the second session of the first day.

India ended Day one at 267/3 with Kohli having completed his century and batting on 103* and Rahane on 79*. They added another 198 runs for the fourth wicket on the second day and ended up batting 112 overs, in the process completing a stand of 365 runs. This is still the highest fourth-wicket stand for India in Test cricket. Kohli and Rahane broke the then-record 353-run stand for the same wicket accomplished by Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman against Australia in Sydney back in 2004. They also bettered the record stand for the same wicket against New Zealand accomplished by Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly in Ahmedabad in the year 1999.

India declared at 557/3 and New Zealand were bundled out for 299 in reply thanks mainly to Ravichandran Ashwin’s 6/81. Kohli did not ask the Kiwis to follow on and India batted in the second innings to reach 216/3 after which he declared. Set a target of 475 runs in the fourth innings with over four sessions to go, the Kiwis folded up for 153 runs by the end of Day four after being bombarded with unplayable deliveries from Ashwin who returned figures of 7/59. The off-spinner’s match haul of 13/140 stole the limelight from the Kohli-Rahane stand and the engineer from Chennai was adjudged Man of the Match. India took the series 3-0.

Fourth-wicket 281 runs stand between Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly in Ahmedabad 1999

India had an enviable 1-0 lead going into the third Test at Ahmedabad against the touring Kiwis, after playing an interesting draw at Mohali in the first Test and winning the Kanpur Test.

India batted first and opener Sadagoppan Ramesh set the stage for a batting spectacle by the home team with a relatively well-paced innings of 110 runs. Sachin Tendulkar came after Rahul Dravid got out with India at 102/2. Tendulkar was joined by Sourav Ganguly with India at 182/3. The duo batted for 79 overs to add 281 runs, then the highest fourth-wicket stand for India against New Zealand.

Interestingly, the duo had also broken the then highest fourth-wicket stand for India against any nation in Test cricket in the process of accumulating their runs. They broke the record 256-run stand accumulated by themselves two years back at Mumbai against Sri Lanka.

Tendulkar scored his first double hundred in Test cricket and registered a tally of 217 runs studded with 29 hits past the boundary line. Ganguly made 125 runs which included 20 hits to the fence.

India declared at 583/7 after which New Zealand made 308 runs in reply, 275 in arrears. Anil Kumble returned figures of 5/82. India batted again and declared at 148/5, giving New Zealand a target of 424 runs. All the Kiwi batsmen batted in a firm manner with three of the top four scoring half-centuries – Gary Stead (78), Craig Spearman (54*) and Stephen Fleming (64*). New Zealand reached 252/2 in 95 overs and the match ended in a draw.

Sachin Tendulkar was adjudged the Man of the Match and India took the series 1-0.

India will play New Zealand in the World Test Championship final in Southampton, England between June 18-22.


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