Christchurch - New Zealand captain Brendon
McCullum insisted the time was right to quit international cricket on Wednesday
despite hitting one of his best innings just days earlier.
It was not the way the 34-year-old wanted
to retire, as Australia completed a 2-0 series sweep by winning the second Test
by seven wickets.
But McCullum did mark his swansong in
trademark fashion, setting records for the fastest century and most sixes in
Test history (107).
When the match ended, with an Adam Voges
four getting Australia to the 201 they needed for victory, there were emotional
scenes as McCullum led his side from Christchurch's tree-lined Hagley Oval.
Australian captain Steve Smith, not out 53,
ran over to shake McCullum's hand.
When New Zealand had needed patience to
occupy the crease for long periods of time to save the Test, McCullum could not
hold back his natural aggression.
He smashed a first innings 145 in 79 balls,
including the first ever 54-ball century, and 25 off 27 in his second bat.
But despite his own heroics, what mattered
most for McCullum was the result and it did not turn out as wanted in his 101st
and final Test.
"It's not the ideal way to go out but
at the same time, I've had a great time," he said. "We're obviously
disappointed to lose the Test match and the series but the right team
As he shut down his international career
there were no tears from McCullum, although he was moved by a guard of honour
by the Australians.
McCullum has been sidelined by a back
injury in recent weeks and he said he knew it was "time to move on".
"The time's right. I came to that
realisation when I made the decision and I knew I could steel myself for
another couple of challenges," he said.
"Hopefully I've left and brought some
fun and enjoyment and some real culture back into the set-up in the time that
I've had as captain.
"When someone's career winds down,
other cricketers want to show their respects in some way as well. You never
foresee that level of respect that Steve Smith and the Australian team showed
with that guard of honour would ever eventuate."
Reflecting on his career, McCullum said he
now felt relieved it was all over.
"What comes with the good times also
comes with its challenges. You walk away knowing that you've been able to front
up and try to go out there and get a performance on the board and I guess now
you're a little bit relieved," he said.
He said he hoped to be remembered "as
a guy who played for the right reasons and who, if in doubt, was prepared to
take the positive option.
"Hopefully, the guys that I've played
with will remember you as a good bloke as well."
McCullum finished his Test career with
6 453 runs at an average 38.64. He scored 12 centuries and 31 half-centuries.
His swashbuckling style has produced
multiple records. He is the only New Zealander to score a triple century, with
302 against India two years ago.
He also holds the record for the most
consecutive Tests, never missing a game since his career began in 2004, and he
is New Zealand's second most successful captain with a winning percentage of
35.48, behind Geoff Howarth's 36.66.
In Twenty20 internationals, where his big
hitting was welcomed, he holds world records for the most runs (2,140), most
centuries (two), most 50s (15), most sixes (91) and most fours (199).
He scored his fastest ODI 50 in 18 balls
and has hit four ODI 50s in 20 balls or less, second only to Pakistan's Shahid
Afridi who achieved the feat six times.