Pallekele, July 30: Australian batting pair of Peter Nevill and Steve O'Keefe set a world record during the 1st Test against Sri Lanka here today (July 30).
Wicketkeeper-batsman Nevill (9 off 115 balls) and O'Keefe (4 off 98) batted together for 178 deliveries for just 4-run partnership for the 9th wicket on the 5th and final day. Those 4 runs came off a single shot (boundary off Lakshan Sandakan in the 63rd over) from O'Keefe.
Australia needed 268 to win but with wickets tumbling in the second session and the visitors trying to save the match, Nevill and O'Keefe frustrated the home team bowlers with a dour stand.
The Nevill-O'Keefe partnership of 4 runs from 178 balls is the lowest ever run-rate for an association (minimum of 100 balls faced) in Test history, according to statisticians. They played out 22 maidens in a row (from 64th over to 85 - score 161/8). Nevill was dismissed in the 86th over.
The run rate is just 0.13, being lower than the previous mark of 0.64 from South African duo of AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla (27 off 253 Vs India in December 2015).
Despite Nevill and O'Keefe's defiance for the 9th wicket, Australia lost the Test by 106 runs. Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath was the star for Sri Lanka with 5 wickets in the second innings. He had 4 victims in the first.
31-year-old O'Keefe, who injured his right hamstring while fielding, battled pain to give Nevill company. But in the end it went in vain.
The pair came together after the fall of Nathan Lyon's wicket at 157/8 in 56.1 overs. They were separated after a marathon efffort when Nevill departed at 85.5 overs with the score on 161/9. They batted together for 29.4 overs.
It was a remarkable comeback by the islanders after being bundled out for just 117 in the first innings on the first day. The win on Saturday was only their second ever against Australia in a Test, after 1999 (in Kandy).
Lowest run rates in partnerships in Test cricket (Minimum of 100 balls faced) - Top 3
Peter Nevill and Steve O'Keefe - 4 off 178 balls (0.13 run rate)
Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers - 27 off 253 (0.64) Vs India
Chris Harris and Mark Richardson - 16 off 125 (0.76) Vs West Indies in 2002