Wellington - Brendon McCullum became New Zealand's first triple-centurion in 84
years of Test cricket on Tuesday, securing a famous series win against
India and uniting the country in praise.
The bearded captain, 32,
who is carrying multiple injuries, batted for nearly 13 hours for a
match-saving 302 which put him in the company of all-time greats Don
Bradman and Wally Hammond.
Wellington's Basin Reserve erupted in a
standing ovation as McCullum cut Zaheer Khan for four to bring up the
triple century, and the applause resumed just two balls later when he
was out caught behind.
McCullum's 302 surpassed Martin Crowe's 299 - compiled at the same ground in 1991 - to become the highest score
by a New Zealander in 391 Tests since 1930.
After his 224 in the
first-Test win, it made him just the third man after Australia's
Bradman, and England's Hammond in the 1930s, to score double and triple
tons in consecutive Tests.
"I'm very respectful of all the guys I
managed to get past today, Martin Crowe in particular who's held the
record for over 20 years," said McCullum after the Test was drawn,
handing New Zealand a 1-0 series victory.
"I almost feel a little
embarrassed to go past someone of that calibre, and Stephen Fleming and
all the other names as well. It's incredibly humbling to put your name
up there and score the first triple century for New Zealand."
number five batsman came to the crease before lunch on Sunday, with
wickets falling and New Zealand staring at a series-levelling defeat in
the second Test.
Seven hundred and fifty-nine minutes later, after
facing 559 balls and despite back and shoulder problems, he departed
with the match saved and with New Zealand even dreaming of an improbable
Along the way, he took part in a world-record, 352
sixth-wicket partnership with BJ Watling and helped New Zealand reach
their highest Test score of 680.
And Jimmy Neesham's 137, against a tiring Indian attack, was the highest Test debut by a number eight batsman.
finally fell about 45 minutes into the final day as fans, many of whom
took the day off work, were still arriving at the ground in the New
After New Zealand declared at 680-8, their
highest Test score, India saw out the match on 166-3 - with Virat Kohli
hitting an unbeaten 105 -- to ensure the draw.Prime
Minister John Key was quick to congratulate McCullum, calling his
innings "outstanding", while Ross Taylor, who ceded the captaincy
acrimoniously in 2012, said it was "amazing".
His father Stu
McCullum said he was pleased at how his son, once known as a brutal
short-form specialist, had been able to adapt to the demands of Test
"He's changed, possibly, the way he treats the innings in
front of him at the time. Obviously the team certainly required him to
do that and he's done that the last two Tests. He likes to stand up to a
challenge," he said, according to the stuff.co.nz website.
has been a dasher and will probably be a dasher in the future again as
well. But the situation's required him to do what he's done and I'm very
pleased the way he's gone about it."
Only 24 cricketers have
broken the 300 barrier, four of them twice - including West Indian
Brian Lara, who holds the world record for the highest Test innings of
The innings may also be seen as further vindication for
McCullum, who became captain 16 months ago in controversial
circumstances when popular skipper Taylor was dumped.
then went a year without a Test win. But in recent months, McCullum has
led them to a 2-0 series victory over the West Indies and now a 1-0
series triumph over India.
Coupled with the 4-0 one-day series win
over India, the Black Caps' form will give them a huge boost as they
prepare to co-host the World Cup with Australia next year.