Highest p'ship for 6th wicket ever - 267*(Ronchi/Elliot)

shawl_who

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A record-shattering sixth-wicket stand between Luke Ronchi and Grant Elliott yanked New Zealand out of the mire at 93 for 5 and sent them hurtling to 360 for 5, in what began as a counterattack and then grew into a gargantuan, unstoppable thing of terror. Their unbeaten stand of 267 off 180 balls was the highest ever for the sixth wicket, and is the second for any wicket for New Zealand.

In response, Sri Lanka managed 15 fewer runs than Ronchi and Elliot did together, and were 108 shy of the hosts' total, despite a spirited 116 from 106 balls for Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Ronchi was chief architect of the mauling, clobbering 170 from 99 balls, murdering anything pitched up and never failing to slam the short balls over the leg-side fence. Rarely did he fail to execute the strokes he attempted, no matter how audacious. His maiden ton was scored from 74 balls. The next 70 runs were slammed off 25. He hit nine sixes and 14 fours in all.

Elliott was slightly more reserved in the early phase of their partnership but once he had set himself a foundation with 25 runs off 35 balls, his strike rate moved smoothly upwards, even if he sought to give Ronchi more of the bowling. By the end of the innings, Elliott was creaming the dross Sri Lanka served up at the death almost as cleanly as his partner was. His 104 not out came from 96 deliveries; he then returned with the ball to deliver nine pinpoint overs that conceded only 44 and claimed two wickets.

Sri Lanka were indisciplined with the ball to begin with, despite the seam movement on offer, but became truly pathetic by the end of the innings. Suranga Lakmal missed his lengths more often than he hit them towards the death, traveling for 93 in his 10 overs. Nuwan Kulasekara nabbed two wickets with the new ball, but was almost as bad with the older one. He disappeared for 73 from his full quota.

Lasith Malinga's absence was keenly felt at the death, but Angelo Mathews was also missing, thanks to a calf niggle. Acting captain Lahiru Thirimanne took two wickets with his seam-up deliveries, but was otherwise disappointing in the field, shelling difficult chances off Ronchi and Elliott once each. Elliott was 47 when the diving chance at short cover went down. Ronchi was already at 167 when the overhead chance, running back from point, was spilled in the last over.

Ronchi began his charge with two of the simplest sixes he will ever hit. Jeevan Mendis dropped the ball halfway down the pitch on successive deliveries, and was walloped over cow corner in the 25th over. The boundaries were scored almost at will from then on.

Sachithra Senanayake's introduction to the attack had been delayed slightly, thanks to the earlier success of the seamers, but he was picked off effortlessly by Ronchi and Elliott, who used the sweep to excellent effect against his leg-stump line. They occasionally came down the pitch to the spinners, but were largely content to punish the bad balls - of which there were many - from the crease.

Records | One-Day Internationals | Partnership records | Highest partnership for the sixth wicket | ESPN Cricinfo
 
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