India were 100-3 when Ajinkya Rahane walked out to join Virat Kohli in the first innings of the third Test against New Zealand at Indore.
When Kohli suffered a sudden cramp and got trapped in front of the wicket by Jeetan Patel, the score read 465-4. Five sessions had passed since they came together.
By now, they had passed VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar’s mammoth fourth wicket partnership record set in Sydney on the fourth and deciding Test of India’s Tour of Australia back in 2004. It was the innings Tendulkar scored 241 with only two boundaries on the off side. It was perhaps India’s greatest Test partnership in overseas conditions.
Almost two years ago, though, Kohli and Rahane brought in India’s most important new-age Test partnership at Melbourne, after losing the first two Tests against Australia. They scored 262 runs together in that innings, both of them going on to get centuries – big ones. In that same match, they came together again in the fourth innings to try and save the game. Their partnership was 85, after India were 3/19 in trouble. Earlier in that series, during one of India’s bravest ever losses overseas, and during possibly one of the best single Tests for any player ever (Virat Kohli and his two centuries), their partnership in Adelaide in the first innings was 101.
These have been their three century partnerships – a fourth wicket stand, which is usually when the team has been in trouble, and they’re mostly the last recognized batting pair, unless Rohit Sharma is playing as the sixth batsman. And six of their top eight partnerships so far have come abroad, outside the subcontinent, which makes sense, given that they have been India’s best Test batsmen over the last two years. While Kohli has made a century or more on every single tour (except England), Rahane has succeeded virtually more than Kohli on every tour, with there being plenty of superb 80s and 90s in tough situations on tough pitches. Who can forget his Lord's century on India’s doomed England tour in 2014? He is proudly walking in VVS Laxman’s footsteps.
Here are some numbers about their latest partnership that deflated New Zealand in testing conditions:
365 – the partnership between Kohli and Rahane, the highest-ever fourth wicket stand for India in Tests.
2 – number of times Kohli and Rahane already figure in the top four fourth wicket stands for India.
7 – number of 50+ partnerships between the two.
2 – number of Test double centuries by Kohli in the last two tours – his only two scores above 50 in the time, too.
2 – number of Test doubles scored by Kohli as captain, the only Indian captain ever to do so.
188 – Rahane’s highest Test score, which came in this Test.
211 – Kohli’s highest Test score, which came in this Test.
13 – number of Test centuries by Kohli in 48 matches, with his conversion rate being phenomenal – only 12 fifties.
8 – number of Test centuries by Rahane in 28 Tests.
7 – number of countries in which Rahane has scored a Test century, including South Africa, England, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, a 98 in Bangladesh, West Indies and India.
5 – number of countries in which Kohli has scored a Test century, missing out on England, Bangladesh so far.