|The Hollywood version |
read the book
In one of the book's many great passages Tolstoy describes a high society wedding in the Russian church. He brilliantly entwines the broad comedy of the spectators, the nervous tension of the betrothing couple and the mystical detail of the Orthodox ceremony. FB noted with interest that at one point in the service the couple are required to stand on a small mat in front of the priest to receive part of the blessing. (In this particular wedding the mat was made of pink silk, so we're not talking coconut fibre doormats here.) The belief was that whoever stepped onto the mat first would become the dominant partner, so the actions of the bride and groom were keenly watched from all sides. Whether bets were taken and action replays were organised to determine close results, Tolstoy does not say.
|The best pairing ever? |
Suttcliffe was so good
he didn't even need a bat
But a batsman can change role. Andrew Strauss and Alistair Cook are a highly effective combination - they have 12 100+ partnerships in their 101 innings together. Strauss is now the more aggressive of the pair. 5 years ago he was the more passive in his equally effective partnership with Trescothick - 8 century stands in 52 innings.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the most effective partnership in world cricket at present is Tendulkar and Dravid who have put on 100 together 19 times. Further back, West Indies' partnership of Greenidge and Haynes amassed 6482 runs between 1978 and 1991 although they average only 47.31 together. In 23 partnerships Javed Miandad and Shoaib Mohammed averaged 91.82, and put on 8 centuries together. But the strongest partnership was English - in opening the England innings 39 times together Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe had 15 century partnerships and went over 50 11 times, averaging 87.86. Clearly they stepped on the mat absolutely in synchrony.
|Botham c Marsh b Lillee|
Just to complete the theme, bowlers and fielders need to work together too. The most important pairing is obviously bowler and keeper where the most productive partnership ever is c Marsh b Lillee - which featured in the scorebooks 95 times; c Glichrist b McGrath occurred 90 times. Of non wicket-keeping partnerships, the key man is Dravid with 55 snaffles off Anil Kumble and 50 off Harbhajan. Thanks partner.