Sydney University Cricket Club opener Ryan Carters entered the record books today when he shared a 503-run opening stand with Aaron Finch in a first-class fixture at Blacktown International Sports Park.
Batting for an Australian Cricket XI against the touring New Zealanders, Carters and Finch, the Australian limited overs opener, put on 376 on Thursday, the first day of the match, and continued their assault this morning.
When Carters was finally dismissed for 209, off 364 balls with 18 boundaries, the Cricket Australia XI declared and an early lunch was taken. Finch remained unbeaten on a career best 288, which came off 263 balls and included 24 boundaries and seven sixes.
The pair broke a 93-year-old record, combining for the highest first-class opening partnership on Australian soil.
Their stand surpassed Ernie Mayne and Bill Ponsford’s 1923-24 record of 456 for Victoria at the MCG. They reached the landmark of 457 with 45 minutes to go until lunch in the 114th over on Friday and batted on to push past 500.
Finch scored the majority of the partnership, more than doubling his previous best score of 122. But Carters was not to be overshadowed, registering his fifth first-class century, and beat his previous career-high of 198.
CA XI captain Ashton Turner wasted no time in batting first when he won the toss yesterday on a pitch that was already cracking under the hot sun in Sydney’s greater west.
Both players reached their century before tea on Thursday, before Finch upped the ante in the final session as New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum employed unique field settings and nine different bowlers to find a breakthrough.
“They didn’t leave anything untried,” Finch told CrocMedia of New Zealand’s efforts on day one. “Most of them bowled except the keeper and Ross Taylor.
“I don’t think the wicket helped them one bit. It wasn’t ideal for their preparation leading into the First Test at the Gabba, but they stuck to their plans.”
The all-time opening record is 561, held by Pakistani pair Waheed Mirza and Manzoor Akhtar, set in 1976-77.
Meanwhile, Carters wasn’t the only SUCC opener getting among the runs this week.
Ed Cowan, who has returned from a stint with Tasmania – and Australia – was 82 not out (at the time of writing) in NSW’s second innings of their Sheffield Shield match against South Australia. He scored 31 in the first innings and has not given up hope of a recall to the Australian side.
And former SUCC player Scott Henry, who moved to Queensland this season to further his career, cracked 141 against Victoria in his first game for the Can Toads.