Record partnership lights up drab encounter

Michael Carberry and Neil McKenzie celebrate during their record-breaking partnership. Picture: Barry Zee
Michael Carberry and Neil McKenzie celebrate during their record-breaking partnership. Picture: Barry Zee
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From the most predictable of LV County Championship draws, slowly but surely an extraordinary story emerged as Michael Carberry and Neil McKenzie both hit career best scores to plunder a staggering 523 runs for the third wicket against Yorkshire.

Carberry –who went on to hit 300 not out – and McKenzie (237) simply didn’t look like getting out as records tumbled at regular intervals.

The pair posted Hampshire’s highest ever partnership, eclipsing the 411 hit by Robert Poore and Teddy Wynyard in 1899, by more than 100 runs.

While the world record highest ever partnership of 624 between Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara for Sri Lanka looked to be seriously under threat at one stage.

As it is, it’s the ninth highest partnership in history – an extraordinary feat in itself.

Carberry, in hitting a remarkable 43 fours and two sixes in his marathon knock, became the first triple centurion for Hampshire since John Crawley in 2005, while McKenzie smashed 25 fours and two sixes as the pair shared their 475-minute vigil.

As Carberry brought up his 300, the declaration duly arrived at 599 for three, while Yorkshire made it through to the early close at 40 without loss.

The spoils were thus shared in a game that raised questions over the balance between bat and ball in Championship cricket.

Hampshire were punished for creating a spin-friendly pitch by the ECB pitch panel and a thrilling game last time out that went down to the very last over of the match.

This time around, groundsman Nigel Gray understandably prepared a batsman’s paradise and we were nowhere near halfway through the game when the time ran out.

A superb batting partnership aside – and a stand like that is far from easy on any batting surface – it was hardly a good advert for producing competitive, exciting Championship cricket and the blame lies firmly at the door of the ECB.