Home > Features > Moments in history >

Martin Crowe and Andrew Jones stitch monumental record breaking partnership

Andrew Jones (left) and Martin Crowe essayed a monumental partnerhship to extinguish all victory hopes of the Sri Lankans © Getty Images
Andrew Jones (left) and Martin Crowe essayed a monumental partnerhship to extinguish all victory hopes of the Sri Lankans © Getty Images

On February 4, 1991, Martin Crowe known for his technical brilliance and peerless stroke-making ability, and Andrew Jones, with an ungainly yet effective technique, played with pluck, imagination and infinite patience to essay a monumental partnership of 467 against Sri Lanka at Basin Reserve, Wellington. It was an all-time record then for any partnership, breaking the 451-run stand between Bill Ponsford and Don Bradman in 1934 against England at Oval, and Javed Miandad and Mudassar Nazar’s monstrous stand of 451 against India at Hyderabad (Pakistan) in 1982-83. Bharath Ramaraj looks back at the timeless composition by two New Zealand greats.

By the time New Zealand played the first Test against Sri Lanka at the windy Wellington in 1991, their primal force in the bowling attack, Richard Hadlee had retired from the game. It meant that New Zealand had to make most of their limited resources and punch above their weight. The Sri Lankan setup was a lightweight in Test cricket in the 1980s and early 1990s. Yet, they had couple of handy swing bowlers in the experienced albeit an injury prone Rumesh Ratnayake and the 27-year old, Graeme Labrooy.

After Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to field on a track with a bit of juice in it, both Ratnayake and Labrooy proceeded to land blows and cause misery and agony in New Zealand camp. Only Martin Crowe was able to withstand the trials and tribulations of a seaming track and make a good fist of it. However, even he couldn’t haul New Zealand out of dire-straits, as they were bowled out for 174. Ratnayake and Labrooy took four wickets apiece.

Sri Lanka replied with the diminutive Aravinda De Silva leading the way. With his flashing blade, he transfixed the crowd and sent New Zealand bowlers on a virtual leather hunt. Asanka Gurusinha and captain Arjuna Ranatunga essayed fine knocks, but Sri Lanka took a sizeable lead of 323 runs built largely on the back of De Silva’s audacious stroke-play.

With New Zealand needing someone to stand up and build a large edifice to escape with a draw, both openers Trevor Franklin and John Wright played with utmost caution. The conditions had flattened out considerably, and Sri Lankan bowlers who relied more on swing, seam and cut found it difficult to make early inroads. However, when Wright, after showcasing single-minded purpose and shrewd judgment outside his off-stump, finally lost the plot by edging a delivery from wily swing bowler Ramanayake to wicketkeeper, Hashan Tillakaratne, they had a mountain to climb.

Now, that brought to the crease Andrew Jones and Crowe. Both playing with contrasting styles looked all at ease in favourable conditions for batting. If Jones was adept at playing square off the wicket shots, then Crowe took his time before neatly essaying shots through the on-side with filigree precision. Crowe simply was toying with Sri Lanka’s bowling, especially when Ramanayake bowled his brand of medium-pace. Crowe soon crossed the three figure-mark and then even completed his double ton.

A tired and weary looking Sri Lankan seam attack started to bowl all over the shop. With Crowe nearing Glenn Turner’s mark of 259 for highest individual score by a New Zealander, everyone waited in bated breath. The champion batsman crossed that coveted landmark within no time.

The duo going past the long standing record of stitching the highest partnership for any wicket (451) seemed like a foregone conclusion. With an unflinching desire to succeed and a reservoir of patience, even that monstrous record was broken.

In fact, such was Crowe’s breathtaking fluency that he looked all set to cross the 300-run mark. He was oozing class and his pristine grace was glowing brightly in the sunshine. With him batting on 299, camera lens were focused on Crowe for him to essay a triple hundred. But on 299, his mesmerising magic ended as he chased a wide delivery to be dismissed by Ranatunga’s dibbly dobblers.

Crowe on his own website martincrowe.com said, “On Feb 5, 1991 the scoreboard at the Basin Reserve shows the moment I was caught off the 3rd last ball of the test match for 299. I had worked hard to save the match, along with Andrew Jones during a partnership of 467 for the 3rd wicket, a world record, when I fell to a random thought in my mind. After 10 hours of holding my concentration, I stood at the wicket and the thought entered my mind for the first time ever, ‘wow I will be the first ever to score 300 for NZ’. It stole my focus. As the bowler, Arjuna Ranatunga, ran in I forgot my mantra ‘watch the ball, watch the ball’. The ball was delivered and I never saw it, it became a blur, and at the last second I thrust out my bat and the ball took the edge. It flew low and hard to Hashan Tillerkaratne and he held it inches from the ground. As the reality of what happened struck me, I began to storm off the field, striking a sign as I departed through the gates. I was in shock. At that moment I knew I had blown the very moment I waited my whole cricketing life for.”

Poor Jones, as his sterling effort was overshadowed by Crowe. But one shouldn’t forget his heroics either. He finished on 186 not out as New Zealand declared on 671 for four. It was a Houdini act enacted by two batsmen who had burgeoning self-belief and unwavering confidence. As records also tumbled both batsmen won a tidal wave of appreciation.

What followed?

 

New Zealand drew the Test match. A little more than six years later, Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama broke the record with their record-breaking partnership of 576 at Colombo RPS against India.

Brief scores:

 

New Zealand 174 (Martin Crowe 30; Rumesh Ratnayake 4 for 45, Graeme  Labrooy 4 for 68) and 671 for 4 (Andrew Jones 186*, Martin Crowe 299) drew with Sri Lanka 497 (Aravinda De Silva 267; Danny Morrison 5 for 153).

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Photos

India vs West Indies 4th ODI at Dharamsala

Videos

AB de Villiers speaks ahead of New Zealand ODIs

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Yasir Shah: The new spinning sensation for Pakistan

Virat Kohli takes wicket with the first (0th?) ball of his T20I career

Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography — a litany of complaints with a few redeeming patches

Banning West Indian players in IPL can affect the ‘Brand value’ of the event – Will BCCI take this gamble?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 India India vs West Indies India vs West Indies 2014 New Zealand Pakistan Salaam Cricket South Africa West Indies West Indies cancel India tour 2014 West Indies tour of India 2014 West Indies vs India West Indies vs India 2014

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Eden Gardens may host fourth ODI

WICB president Dave Cameron reportedly grilled by other executive members

Duleep Trophy 2014 Semifinal, East Zone vs South Zone: Laxmi Ratan Shukla feels Lahli pitch will suit East Zone pacers

Harbhajan Singh to miss Duleep semi-final against Central Zone,Gautam Gambhir to captain North Zone

Duleep Trophy semi-final: Upbeat East Zone take on South Zone

Pakistan’s chances in ICC World Cup 2015 bleak: Mohammad Zahid

Quinton de Kock equals wicketkeeping record with six catches in South Africa vs New Zealand 1st ODI

MS Dhoni rested, Virat Kohli as captain, and other points of interest from squad for first 3 India vs Sri Lanka ODIs

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: MS Dhoni gets much-needed break ahead of Australia tour

Virat Kohli becomes fastest to 20 ODI hundreds

Fan of the Day

Gautam Singh

Gautam Singh

474 Posts | 5 Fans

Video Highlights Mohammed Yousuf drops catch after watching a girl in bikini

Drink ginger tea to relieve a migraine naturally

WICB president Dave Cameron reportedly grilled by other executive members

Anegan teaser: Dhanush-Amyra Dastur dazzle you in multiple avatars!

Box Cricket League 2014: All you need to know about the sports reality show

NGOs pursue education for all

Duleep Trophy 2014 Semifinal, East Zone vs South Zone: Laxmi Ratan Shukla feels Lahli pitch will suit East Zone pacers

Allocate spectrum to telcos within 90 days after payment: Panel

How BMI and BMR play a role in weight loss

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: MS Dhoni rested for three ODI’s; Virat Kohli to lead India

Humsafar episode 7 review: Asher and Khirad confess their love for each other

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here