Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy are two legendary names in the early days of Indian cricket. Vinoo is still considered to be one of the finest all-rounders produced by India. In his 44 tests, he made 2109 runs and 162 wickets.
At one point Vinoo Mankad held the records for both highest test score and best bowling in an innings by an Indian. On the other hand, Pankaj Roy was one of the most successful openers for India in those days and scored 2442 runs with 5 test centuries.
Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy first time opened for India in the third test match of 1951-52 test series against England at Eden Gardens. They have added 72 and 103 not out as a pair and Indian fans hoped that the opening problem might have been resolved for good. However, they could not replicate this success in the next few test matches and selectors kept experimenting with various opening partners.
When New Zealand came to India to play a five test series Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy opened in the first test but Pankaj scored a duck. India tried three different opening combinations in next three test matches and again chose Mankad and Roy for the fifth test at Corporation Stadium in Chennai (then Madras). Indians were already leading 1-0 in the series.
On 6th Jan, Indian captain Polly Umrigar won the toss and put his openers in. With an easy bowling line up to handle both Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy kept batting. Both of them were not in their fluid best but kept accumulating runs. Both of them reached their hundreds post tea and India finished the day with 234 for the loss of no wicket.
Next day, on 7th Jan, they started from where they left and kept adding runs. In the way, they passed quite a few records to set their own records. Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy overtook the highest partnership by an Indian pair in First-Class. The record was 293 runs, scored between Mankad and Vijay Merchant against Sussex in 1946. The then world record of first wicket partnership of 359 between England’s Len Hutton and Cyril Washbrook was also broken. Vinoo Mankad reached his second double hundred of the series and became only the third person after Don Bradman and Wally Hammond to achieve the record of scoring two double hundred in a series.
Once India passed 400, Pankaj looked to score quickly and in pursuit of quick runs, he was bowled by leg-spinner Matt Poore. He scored 173 and the partnership total was 413. Mankad went on to score 231, his highest test score which remained the highest test score by an Indian till Sunil Gavaskar broke this record with his 236. India won the test by an inning and the series with 2-0 result.
For the next 50 years, no other opening pair could add 400 runs in partnership. In 2006, another Indian pair, Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid came very close to break the record against Pakistan in Lahore. In a high scoring draw, they added 410 before Sehwag nicked to the wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal. The record was eventually broken by the South African opening pair of Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie in 2008 when they added 415 against Bangladesh in Chittagong.