Christchurch - New Zealand's big-hitting skipper Brendon McCullum was hailed Friday
for his rollicking 195 to dramatically turn the opening day of the first
Test against Sri Lanka.
His dominating 134-ball performance which
led New Zealand to 429/7 at stumps also carried special significance
for the 8 000 people who packed Christchurch's Hagley Oval.
were looking for an outstanding performance to mark the return of Test
cricket to the earthquake-battered city and the signs were against them
until McCullum strode to the crease with New Zealand at 88-3.
The wicket was green and McCullum, who lost the toss, was forced to bat on a pitch where he desperately wanted to bowl.
within a session and a half he had Sri Lanka on the ropes at the oval, a
venue purpose built after the city's former cricket ground at Lancaster
Park was destroyed in the devastating 2011 earthquakes which claimed
McCullum spreadeagled the field, smashing 18 fours and
11 sixes, in a record-breaking performance that New Zealand batting
coach Craig McMillan rated the best opening day in New Zealand Test
"It was a very special day. It was the sort of day this
venue and this city deserved with what they've gone through," McMillan
As McCullum bludgeoned the bowling, he took just 74 balls to
crack the fastest century in New Zealand Test history and became the
first New Zealander to score 1 000 runs in a calendar year.
equalled McMillan's New Zealand record of 26 off one over when he
smashed three sixes and two fours off six balls from Sri Lanka's strike
bowler Suranga Lakmal.
He also equalled the New Zealand record of
11 sixes in an innings, one short of the world record of 12 sixes held
by Pakistan's Wasim Akram.
In his career, McCullum has now hit 92 sixes, closing in on the world's best of 100 by Australian Adam Gilchrist.
in your wildest dreams you would never have picked a day of Test
cricket like that, especially when the pitch is a little bit on the
green side and you lose the toss," McMillan said.
"I don't think I have enough superlatives to describe (McCullum's) innings.
has the ability to dominate, dismantle bowlers very quickly and change
the tempo and the way an innings is heading very quickly.
"He's so destructive. I think, probably the most destructive and domineering player who has played for New Zealand."
innings capped a stellar year for McCullum who in February became the
first New Zealander to join the elite club of cricketers to score 300 in
a Test innings.
Against Sri Lanka he starred in two century
partnerships -- with Kane Williamson (54) and Jimmy Neesham (85) -- as
he led his side out of trouble and put them in command of the Test.
he was eventually undone, caught by a diving Dimuth Karunaratne to give
off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal his maiden Test wicket, McCullum left the
ground to a standing ovation.