By: Chinmay Vaidya
Tom Latham hit an unbeaten 264 in the first innings of New Zealand's first Test against Sri Lanka to lead the Blackcaps to a score of 587 and what looked like a surefire win.
Angelo Mathews and Kusal Mendis had other plans.
The Sri Lankan duo stood firm for more than 100 overs, remaining unbeaten in the process to force a draw. It was perhaps the most impressive batting display in a no result given the opposition and the sheer number of overs Mathews and Mendis had to salt away.
Mathews took up the mantle as the experienced batsman with 120 runs while Mendis worked his way to 141 runs. The duo combined for just 27 boundaries in their stand, but the end result was exactly what Sri Lanka needed.
The numbers in this partnership are flat out insane. Mathews and Mendis combined to face 658 balls, the equivalent of 109.4 overs. Mendis was on the pitch for 455 minutes and Mathews stood by him for 447 of those minutes. That's more than seven hours of facing ridiculously dangerous deliveries from the likes of Tim Southee and Trent Boult.
Sri Lanka is in a rebuilding phase, but Mendis and Mathews appear to be two pillars the Lankans can build around for years to come. They looked the part in the first Test.