O'Keefe, Nevill creep into record books

They didn't save the Test but the defensive vigil from the pair set a new world record for Australia

The epic resistance from Peter Nevill and Stephen O’Keefe on the final day at the Pallekele Stadium may not have saved the first Test for Australia, but it has earned the pair a place in the record books.

The New South Wales duo came together in the middle with Australia in all sorts of trouble at 8-157, chasing 268 for victory.

O’Keefe hobbled to the crease carrying a hamstring injury that has ruled him out for the remainder of the series and an Australian victory looking less and less probable.

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With running between the wickets out of the question and the possibility of the return of afternoon rain and bad light that had plagued the previous four days of this Test match, defence became the side’s only hope of avoiding defeat in Kandy.

How Australia's second innings unravelled

In a partnership lasting nearly 90 minutes, Nevill and O’Keefe added just four runs from 178 deliveries at a run rate of 0.13 an over, including a record 25.4 consecutive overs without scoring.

That's 154 consecutive dot balls.

To put it into context, their partnership was the equivalent of just four runs in an entire session.

“I was really proud of the way Peter Nevill and Stephen O’Keefe fought hard at the end,” Smith told media after play.

“It wasn’t easy, some balls were skidding, some were spinning, but it was difficult and they found a way to get through it.

“If Steve was able to run we would have scored a few runs there as well.”

The stand smashed the previous slowest partnership of 0.64 runs per over between South African stars Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers against India late last year.

The previous slowest partnership – consisting of 100 or more balls - between an Australian pair belonged to Jason Gillespie and Mark Waugh who went at 1.29 an over in the 1998-99 Ashes Test at the WACA.

Meg Lanning Steve Smith