Partnerships form the basis of batting in any form of the game, but in the ultimate format, they can take on genuinely epic qualities.
South African batsmen have come together time and time again to produce magical passages of play. Here are the country’s five biggest Test partnerships in terms of runs.
- 5. Eddie Barlow and Graeme Pollock – 341 vs Australia, Adelaide 1964
South Africa came into the fourth Test of their series against Australia in 1964 trailing 1-0, with the hosts winning the toss and electing to bat first.
Australia managed 345 all out, and when Eddie Barlow and Graeme Pollock came together, South Africa were 70-2 two after Neil Hawke removed Trevor Goddard and Tony Pithey in quick succession.
Barlow and Pollock put the Australian bowlers to the sword as South Africa breezed past their hosts’ first-innings effort and set up a 10-wicket victory.
Pollock credited the partnership with Barlow for getting his career back on track.
‘We made 180 runs in the last session on Saturday, the second day of the Test, and it just turned things around not only for South Africa but for my career. Barlow made 201 and I scored 175,’ Pollock told the Cricket Monthly in 2015.
- 4. Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs – 368 vs Pakistan, Cape Town 2003
The opening partnership between Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs defined an era for the Proteas, and the pair put on their ultimate masterclass against Pakistan at Newlands in 2003.
Pakistan played their part in the incredible opening stand, dropping Gibbs twice and Smith once. The pair cashed in on their home ground.
After Smith was bowled for 151, Gibbs went on to score what was at the time the second-fastest Test double ton in terms of balls faced.
- 3. Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis – 377* vs England, The Oval 2012
When it comes to immovable objects, you would be hard pressed to find better than Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis in top form.
The Proteas greats came together for a symphony of willow on leather against England at The Oval in 2012.
Amla had already been in a massive 259-run partnership with Graeme Smith when Kallis joined him.
Kallis would see Amla to a triple century and a South African record score, but missed out on a double ton due to a declaration.
- 2. Neil McKenzie and Graeme Smith – 415 vs Bangladesh, Chattogram 2008
Bangladesh did not have the firepower to get beyond the pairing of Neil Mackenzie and Graeme Smith before they put more than 400 runs on the board.
The Tigers’ attack may not have had the sharpest of teeth, but the partnership was expertly put together.
They would only be separated on the second morning of the Test, setting up a big victory for the Proteas.
- Jacques Rudolph and Boeta Dippenaar – 429* vs Bangladesh, Chattogram 2003
Jacques Rudolph and Boeta Dippenaar are two of the less-heralded Proteas batsmen of their time, but they seized their moment to make history on South Africa’s first tour of Bangladesh.
They came together at 41-2 as the Proteas replied to Bangladesh’s first-innings effort of 173 all out. Mashrafe Mortaza removed Herschelle Gibbs, but struggled to keep himself from overstepping, and Rudolph and Dippenaar were disciplined in accumulating the largest partnership in Proteas Test history.
It was the first time a Proteas pair put on more than 400 runs in a single stand.
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