Mahela Jayawardene (240) and Thilan Samaraweera (231) rewrote the record book with a massive 437-run stand that put Sri Lanka in the driver’s seat on day two of their first cricket Test against Pakistan in Karachi on Sunday.
The outgoing Lankan skipper Jayawardene and Samaraweera starred in a fourth-wicket partnership of 437 runs from 634 balls that not only smashed a five-decade-old record but also guided Sri Lanka to a massive 644 for seven before the visitors declared.
The spectre of follow on looms large on Pakistan, who finished the day at 44 for one, having lost opener Salman Butt (23) to Muttiah Muralitharan.
Debutant Khurrum Manzoor (18) and captain Younis Khan (0) were batting at stumps with the hosts needing another 401 to avoid the ignominy of follow on.
With the pitch offering little to the bowlers, Jayawardene, resuming the second day on 136, and Samaraweera, on 130, carried batting fluently and effortlessly taking their team to 505 at lunch.
During their long partnership they surpassed the 52-year old batting record of 411 runs for the fourth wicket by Peter May and Colin Cowdrey of England in 1952 against the West Indies.
Sri Lanka’s total is also their highest against Pakistan and also the highest by any team at the National Stadium.
Pakistan gained some consolation just before tea when they grabbed three wickets in 10 balls.
Former captain Shoaib Malik broke the partnerhip when he had Jayawardene caught by wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal while trying to sweep a leg side ball.
Jayawardene went after having batted for 423 balls and hit 26 fours.
His partner, Samaraweera, who made his first double century and highest Test score fell seven balls later at the same score of 614 when he was bowled by a flipper from leg-spinner Danish Kaneria.
Samaraweera batted for 318 balls and hit 31 fours.
Pakistan got their third wicket when Tillakaratne Dilshan (0) was caught behind beaten by a doosra by Malik leaving the visitors on 614 for six at tea.
Sri Lanka declared shortly after resumption when Kaneria got his third wicket bowling Prasanna Jayawardene for 18 to leave him with figures of 3 for 170.