Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara are two great friends who served Sri Lankan cricket for the most part of the first 15 years of the new millennium. They have carried the Sri Lankan cricket on their broad shoulders and played some great innings. Both of them also led the team for a different part of this era. There were many matches where a big partnership between Mahela and Kumar took Sri Lanka to safety or towards registering a win.
On 29th July, 2006 the duo completed their biggest partnership in test cricket. It was a mammoth contribution of 624 runs which became the highest ever partnership in test match cricket. Till then the highest partnership in Test was 576, made by two other Sri Lankan greats Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama against India in 1997, this was the same test match where Sri Lanka ended up scoring a record 952 runs.
Jayawardene and Sangakkara broke that record and since then it remained the World record for the highest ever partnership in tests. The opposition was South Africa with a pretty decent bowling attack consisting of Makhaya Ntini, Dale Steyn, Andre Nel, Andrew Hall, and Nicky Boje but none of them could stop the rampaging duo.
But before that, South Africa batted first and scored a paltry 169 all out in the first innings. Only AB de Villiers could score a fifty as Muttiah Muralitharan and Dilhara Fernando finished with four wickets each.
Sri Lanka did not start well, as Dale Steyn picked up the openers Upul Tharanga and Jayasuriya in his first two overs and it looked like South Africa could claw their way back in the match. However, Jayawardene came out to bat and joined Sangakkara and rest was history. Sri Lanka lost their next wicket after 157 overs as Sangakkara was dismissed by Hall for 287. Jayawardene went on to score 374, became the second Sri Lankan to score a Test triple hundred after Jayasuriya. His 374 also sits in the 4th position in the highest innings list for test with only Brian Lara’s 400 and 375 as well as Matthew Hayden’s 380 above it.
Sri Lanka went on to score 756/5 before declaring with a lead of 587 runs. South Africa fared better in their second innings with as many as four half-centuries but Murali bowled 64 overs to finish with six wickets and South Africa scored 434 all-out giving Sri Lanka a victory by an innings and 153 runs.