A good opening partnership sets the tone wonderfully for a side to take control in cricket. Their task gets a lot more difficult in Test cricket, where they have to see through new ball trouble to ensure the batters following them can score freely. 

Over the years, there have been some iconic opening pairs in Tests, who recorded unforgettable partnerships together. 

Former South African openers Neil McKenzie and Graeme Smith hold the record for the highest opening partnership in Test cricket. They broke a 52-year record held by Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy and became the third opening pair in the longest format to add 400 or more together. 

Here’s a list of the top 10 opening partnerships in Test cricket.

Highest opening partnerships in Test match cricket

Players

Runs

Team

Opposition

Ground

Year

ND McKenzie, GC Smith

415

South Africa

Bangladesh

Chattogram

2008

MH Mankad, P Roy

413

India

New Zealand

Chennai

1956

V Sehwag, R Dravid

410

India

Pakistan

Lahore

2006

GM Turner, TW Jarvis

387

New Zealand

West Indies

Georgetown

1972

WM Lawry, RB Simpson

382

Australia

West Indies

Bridgetown

1965

GC Smith, HH Gibbs

368

South Africa

Pakistan

Cape Town

2003

L Hutton, C Washbrook

359

England

South Africa

Johannesburg

1948

GC Smith, HH Gibbs

338

South Africa

England

Birmingham

2003

MS Atapattu, ST Jayasuriya

335

Sri Lanka

Pakistan

Kandy

2000

GR Marsh, MA Taylor

329

Australia

England

Nottingham

1989

 

Neil McKenzie, Graeme Smith (South Africa) - 415 vs Bangladesh

South Africa batted first in the second Test against Bangladesh in 2009. Neil McKenzie (226 in 338 balls) and Graeme Smith (232 in 277 balls) played out the opening day without losing a wicket, also adding 405 runs in 90 overs. They added 10 more runs to their overnight tally before Smith was dismissed on Day two. South Africa won the Test match by an innings and 205 runs. 

Vinoo Mankad, Pankaj Roy (India) - 413 vs New Zealand

Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy’s record of 413 runs for the opening wicket against New Zealand remained untouched for over five decades. The duo dominated the Kiwi bowlers and batted the first five sessions of the Test before Pankaj Roy was dismissed for 173. Mankad finished with 231, his highest score in Test cricket.  India won the Test match in Chennai by an innings and 109 runs. 

Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid) - 410 vs Pakistan

In the first Test against Pakistan in Lahore in 2006, Pakistan scored 679 runs batting first. In response, Virender Sehwag went berserk against the hosts’ fast bowlers in the company of Rahul Dravid. Sehwag finished with 254 off 247 deliveries, while Dravid remained unbeaten on 128 off 233 deliveries. The duo added 410 runs for the opening wicket before Sehwag was dismissed by Naved-ul-Hasan. The match finished in a draw as weather conditions did not permit any further play. 

Glenn Turner, Terry Jervis (New Zealand) - 387 vs West Indies

Glenn Turner and Terry Jervis recorded the highest opening partnership in Test cricket by Kiwi pair in 1972 against the West Indies. In response to the Caribbean side’s 365/7 in the first innings, the New Zealand openers added 387 runs together as New Zealand declared at 543/3. Turner scored 259 runs off 759 balls and was assisted well by Jervis, who made 182 in 555 balls. The match finished in a draw. 

Bill Lawry, Bob Simpson (Australia) - 382 vs West Indies

Australian skipper Bob Simpson (201) and Bill Lawry (210) staged an unforgettable batting display against the terrifying pace of Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith in the Bridgetown Test against West Indies in 1965. Simpson fell shortly after completing his double century and the opening stand accounted for 382 runs. Australia scored 650/6 in 189 overs before declaring and the match finished in a draw after Seymour Nurse had scored a double ton for the hosts.

Photo Credit - Alamy