Sri Lanka were staring down the barrel at 13/3 in their second innings after Tom Latham’s epic 264 had given New Zealand a massive lead of 296 runs. However, Angelo Mathews and Kusal Mendis dug in and shared a magnificent partnership that gave Sri Lanka hop for survival. Both batsmen played out of their skins and scored centuries as Sri Lanka did not lose a single wicket on day 4 as they staged a revival. On day 5, the rain came to their rescue but Mathews (120*) and Mendis (141*) epic rearguard had helped Sri Lanka save the Test and ensure that the second and final Test at the Hagley Oval on Boxing Day was a decider.
Mathews and Mendis scored 239 runs on day 4 without losing a single wicket and they created a unique record. This was the fifth instance where a Sri Lanka batting duo had gone through the day without losing a single wicket. Asanka Gurusinha (116*) and Arjuna Ranatunga (135*) had scored 240 runs on day 5 of the Test against Pakistan in 1986 as it ended in a draw. 11 years later, in 1997, Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama would pile plenty of misery on India as they batted for two whole days to create plenty of records.
Jayasuriya and Mahanama scored 283 runs on day 3 and 265 runs on day 4 as they amassed a 576-run stand for the second wicket, which was then the world record for the highest partnership in a Test. Jayasuriya (340) and Mahanama (225) had boosted Sri Lanka to 952/6 declared, which remains the highest Test score in history. The efforts of Jayasuriya and Mahanama are the only instance when a dup has batted for two whole days without losing a wicket.
In 2006, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene created history as they batted the entire second day of the first Test against South Africa at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo. Jayawardene (374) and Sangakkara (287) broke the previous partnership record held by Jayasuriya and Mahanama as they stitched a world record 624-run partnership for the third wicket.
Mathews and Mendis’ feat was the first time a Sri Lankan duo had batted for a full day without losing a wicket outside of the sub-continent. Their stand of 274 for the fourth wicket was the second-best for Sri Lanka in Tests, behind Jayawardene (240) and Thilan Samaraweera’s (231) 437-run stand which was against Pakistan in Karachi in 2009.
For India, there have been only two instances when a duo has batted without losing a wicket in the entire day of a Test. Gundappa Viswanath and Yashpal Sharma scored 217 runs for the second wicket during the fifth Test against England in Chennai in 1982. Viswanath scored 222 while Yashpal slammed 140. However, the most memorable instance for Indian cricket fans is the Eden Gardens Test of 2001 against Australia. VVS Laxman (281) and Rahul Dravid (180) shared a 376-run stand and did not lose wicket on day 3 as they scored 335 runs to spark a dramatic turnaround and win a Test after following on.
The highest number of runs scored in a single day without losing a wicket is 405; Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie blasted the Bangladesh bowlers in 2008 on day one in the Chittagong Test. McKenzie (226) and Smith (232) went on to make a world record opening stand of 415.