July 13, 2007
A series that has brought little joy for Bangladesh got even worse on the third day at Kandy, as Sri Lanka mercilessly hammered them into the ground, amassing a monumental 500 for 4 by close of play. The protagonists were, yet again, two batsmen who have made it a habit of getting together and making life miserable for opposition bowlers. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene celebrated their 50th stand together with a mammoth third-wicket partnership of 311, which is, quite amazingly, less than half their highest stand - an unforgettable 624 against South Africa at the SSC Stadium in Colombo last year. The 311 they added is also the second-highest partnership at Kandy, after the 335 that Marvan Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya added against Pakistan in 2000.
Among all the pair who have played at least 50 times together, Sangakkara and Jayawardene have now become the most prolific in terms of averages, edging past the Australian pair of Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting (which means that the Australia-Sri Lanka series later this year will be a battle of, among other things, the two best batting pairs in the game)
. As the table below shows, the gulf between these two pairs and the rest is huge - Jacques Kallis and Gary Kirsten, third in the list, average ten runs fewer per dismissal.
Sangakkara and Jayawardene have been especially unstoppable when playing at home - they average 88.60 per partnership, with five century stands. Overseas they haven't quite turned it on in similar fashion, though the numbers are still very impressive - 1174 runs at an average of 53.36.
Thanks largely to the two, Sri Lanka piled on 470 runs today, which is the second-highest scored in a day in all Tests in Sri Lanka, and the 15th overall. (Click here for the entire list, before today's play.)
Bangladesh could have been forgiven for experiencing a sense of déjà vu: five years back against Sri Lanka they had leaked 509 runs in a single day, though their misery was slightly mitigated by the fact that they managed nine wickets. They've now been involved in three instances where more than 450 have been scored in a single day - the third occasion was at Chester-le-Street against England in 2005, when 475 were scored on the second day. Instead of being hapless onlookers in the field, Bangladesh had contributed with the bat on that occasion - they scored 297 of those runs.
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo.