5 most successful Australian batting pairs in Tests
Batting partnerships are perhaps the most important thing when it comes to Test match cricket and it is unlikely that a team can put up a big score if their best batsmen do not put on big stands.
In that regard, Australia have been blessed due to the sheer number of great batsmen that they have produced over the course of their illustrious history who have put on a number of big partnerships.
Although 'successful' is an ambiguous word; in cricketing terms, it denotes the pairs who have made the most runs batting together. Using that metric, one of Australia's greatest ever batting pairs, Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting, misses out. On that note, here are five of the most prolific batting pairs in Australian Test history.
#5 David Boon and Mark Taylor
Former Australian captain Mark Taylor opened the innings with David Boon plenty of times. In addition to that, the pair often found themselves together at the crease even when Boon batted at number 3 or 4 later on in his career.
Both batsmen formed the core of the Australian top order for many years and batted together on 85 occasions between 1989 and 1996. They were both gritty, determined batsmen who were always up for a fight and went on to form the 5th most successful batting partnership in Australian Test cricket history. During the course of those 85 innings, Boon and Taylor put together a total of 3583 runs at an average of 44.23. They compiled eight century stands and crossed the 50 run mark on 20 occasions, with the highest partnership being the match-winning 221 against India at Adelaide in January 1992.
#4 Bill Lawry and Bob Simpson
Left-handed opening batsman Bill Lawry was one of the most difficult batsmen to dismiss in international cricket during the course of his career for Australia, and along with fellow opening batsman Bob Simpson, formed one of Australia's most successful partnerships in the 1960s.
From 1961 to 1968, Lawry and Simpson forged 64 partnerships and most of them were for the 1st wicket. They put on a total of 3600 runs, making them the 4th most successful pair in Australia's Test cricket history. They averaged 59.01, compiling nine century stands and 18 half-century partnerships. Their biggest partnership of 382 came in the Georgetown Test against the West Indies back in 1965, when they both got double centuries.
#3 Michael Slater and Mark Taylor
Michael Slater was probably the first modern opening batsman who made the prototype of an ultra-aggressive opener in Test matches popular. Along with the then Australian captain Mark Taylor, he formed an outstanding opening partnership from 1993 to 1999. The pair batted together on 78 occasions and added 3887 runs at an excellent average of 51.14.
Slater's stroke play coupled with Taylor's patient batting formed the perfect opening combination and the duo was instrumental in much of Australia's success in that era. They crossed 100 on 10 occasions and made in excess of 50 16 times. Their highest partnership was the 260 they made at Lord's during Australia's triumphant Ashes tour back in 1993. The Australian cricket team's ascent to the top of world cricket started during this era and this particular opening duo had a lot to do with it.
#2 Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting
One was a top-order batsman who transformed into one of the world's greatest ever opening batsmen in the second chapter of his career, while the other was Australia's greatest ever number 3 since Bradman. The two formed a devastating partnership for the 2nd wicket for their nation.
Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting are the second most successful pairing in the history of Australian Test cricket history. They were both supremely talented batsmen and were part of the all-conquering Australian team of the 2000s. Hayden and Ponting had 76 partnerships in total and averaged a staggering 67.11, with 16 century-plus partnerships and 22 that crossed 50.
#1 Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden
The pair is renowned for the outstanding opening partnerships that it put together for Australia during their golden period, but prior to that, Langer used to bat at number 3 and going back a bit more, the two even shared 2nd wicket partnerships.
However, it is as an opening pair that Hayden and Langer were at their devastating best. They were both technically superb and had the ability to bat against any kind of bowling attack, anywhere in the world. In addition to that, the pair was famous for giving Australia lightning starts in Test matches, and more often than not, their opening bursts broke the back of the opposition.
They put together 6081 runs in total in 122 innings and averaged 51.53. Hayden and Langer put together 14 century stands and crossed 50 a staggering 28 times.