Pakistan must wish after 2 days that they had not bothered playing test cricket again. The length of their absence from the longer form of the game (over a year) has had a not altogether unexpected impact as Sri Lanka racked up 644-7 in the first test in Karachi. Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera put on 437 to record the highest fourth wicket partnership in test history, both posting double centuries.
Jayawardene has made a habit of record-breaking partnerships, holding the overall test record with Kumar Sangakkara. He often does not get the credit he deserves and is missed out on many lists of the finest modern players but is well on the way to becoming Sri Lanka’s finest ever batsman. He is also one of modern cricket’s good guys.
His records can be regarded as good records given that none of them have been made against Bangladesh, unlike so many in recent years. On the downside, his latest effort has removed once and for all the record of those two leading bastions of English public school cricket tradition, flag-bearers for the game’s roots, Peter May and Colin Cowdrey. Their stand of 411 stood as the highest for any wicket for years and even though that record has fallen, their presence in the record books made one feel that (incorrect though it may be) some fragment of England’s former glories remained in tact. No longer. The world is not quite the same anymore. Still, Jaywardene and Samaraweera deserve all the plaudits in the world for their efforts.