Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 27th 2014 Contents A52
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, December 27, 2014
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand---Brendon
McCullum smashed 195, including the fastest
Test century by a New Zealander and became
the first Kiwi to score 1,000 Test runs in a
calendar year as he lifted his team to 429-7
at stumps Friday on the first day of the first
test against Sri Lanka.
The New Zealand captain reached the 11th
test century of his career from only 74 balls
with an outstanding display of power hitting
between lunch and tea, then went close to his
third double century in 2014 as New Zealand
took command of the first match of a two-
McCullum blasted 18 fours and 11 sixes in
an innings of 202 minutes and only 134 balls,
taking his tally of runs in nine tests this year
to 1,164 at an average of 72.75. He was out,
caught in the deep, chasing a six which would
have given him the fastest double century in
minutes in test history.
Don Bradman scored 200 in 214 minutes
against England at Leeds in 1930 to set that
mark; when McCullum was out in the 66th
over of New Zealand s innings on Friday, he
still had 12 minutes to eclipse it. McCullum
had already this year scored a double century
from 186 balls---the fourth fastest in history---
McCullum started the year with a double
century against India on February 6---New
Zealand s national holiday---and ended it ten
months and eight tests later with a century to
accompany his triple century and two double
The skipper was equally punishing on the
seam bowlers and Sri Lanka s only spinner,
Tharindu Kaushal, who had a torrid test debut,
conceding 159-1 from 22 overs. Kaushal had
the consolation of claiming McCullum s wicket,
caught by Dimuth Karunaratne.
Disappointingly for the visitors, Sri Lanka
won the toss Friday and unhesitatingly chose
to bowl first, naming a lineup which included
captain Angelo Mathews among four seamers.
The toss was thought to be influential because
Hagley Oval, venue of the opening match in
next year s World Cup and hosting a test match
for the first time, provided a green pitch which
was expected to provide pace, bounce and seam
McCullum admitted he also would have
"I think when you lose a toss like that and
you re put in on a pitch which has got a bit of
greenery about it, it can go one of two ways,"
he said. "I guess the aggressive option we took
today worked out well.
"I m not too statistically driven. I knew that
(1,000 runs) was not too far away but you ve
still got to be respectful of the game and once
we got away and I established a partnership
with Kane (Williamson) runs sort of flew."
The first session was a tepid introduction to
what followed. Openers Hamish Rutherford
On a day when Brendon McCul-
lum shattered New Zealand batting
records, coach Craig McMillan has
described him as the most destruc-
tive batsman to have played for his
McCullum s hundred off 74 balls
bettered his own record from the last
Test match he played, in Sharjah.
His innings strike rate of 145.52 was
the highest for any innings greater
than 150, in matches for which the
number of balls have been recorded.
He also scored 26 off one Suranga
Lakmal over, equaling the New
Zealand record that McMillan had
himself set, in 2001.
"The man is an x-factor player,"
McMillan said of McCullum. "He
has the ability to dominate and dis-
mantle bowlers and change the
tempo and the way an innings is
heading very quickly. I think he s the
most destructive and domineering
player to play for New Zealand, cer-
tainly that I ve seen.
"I don t think I ve got enough
superlatives to describe that innings
today. I thought it would be hard to
beat what he did in Sharjah, which
was a pretty special innings as well.
McCullum has had a prolific 2014,
in which he has now hit a triple-
ton, two double-hundreds and this
195, to amass 1164 runs in the year,
at an average of 72.75. Those runs
have also come quickly, at a strike
rate of over 72, but McMillan sug-
gested it was improved judgement
that has seen him transform a Test
batting record that had him averaging
35.21 before the start of this year.
"One of the keys to his perform-
ance in Test match cricket over the
last 12-18 months is the work he s
done on his defence. That might
sound a little bit crazy when he s
belting the ball around the park as
he has, but I think he s tightened up
in certain areas of his game, and kept
the good balls out. When he gets
any chance to score - and for McCul-
lum the margins are so small for the
bowlers - he really punishes you and
makes you pay. We know he plays
all around the wicket and has all the
shots, but his option-taking, based
around a sound defence, has taken
his game to another level."
McMillan also reserved praise for
James Neesham, who was involved
in a 153-run fifth-wicket stand with
McCullum, which came from just
117 balls. Neesham went on to make
85 from 80, but had been helped
along by McCullum s marathon
assault, McMillan said.
"James has been short of runs in
that last tour, and today was a really
important knock for him, just to see
the confidence seeping back into his
system. Batting with Brendon almost
dragged him along and gave him the
confidence to perhaps be a little more
"It was probably the perfect sit-
uation for him to come to the crease
and see McCullum at the other end.
That just gives you confidence,
regardless of how you re playing,
when you see someone at the other
end make it look so easy, and playing
the shots that Brendon was playing.
I m sure in their chat between overs,
Brendon would have been relaying
confidence to James, just to be nice
and proactive, and to show good
intent. And I think we saw that from
him today. It was a really good
innings and one that we needed from
New Zealand s 429 for 7---the
fourth highest aggregate amassed on
a single day in New Zealand - was
lapped up by an 8000 strong
Christchurch crowd. McMillan
described it as the perfect way to
reintroduce the city to Test cricket
after an 11-year hiatus, during which
the city has been through the trauma
of two major earthquakes.
"I think it has to sit right at the
top, to be honest. It was a special
day. A day of highlights. I think it
was the kind of day that this venue
and this city deserved, with what
they ve gone through over the last
five years. Even in your wildest
dreams you wouldn t have picked a
day of Test cricket like that, especially
when the pitch is a little on the green
side, and you lose the toss early on."
He also expected the surface to
retain plenty of spice for when Sri
Lanka bat, most likely on the second
"We saw in that last over from
Angelo Mathews that the ball is still
seaming. The onus will go on our
bowlers to hit the right lengths and
attack the stumps. I think right
throughout this game, there will be
something there for the bowlers.
There s going to be pace and carry.
The ball didn t swing a lot today, but
there s certainly seam movement."
McCullum bangs brilliant
195 against Lankans
Brendon McCullum kept the score racing along at his end.
Sri Lanka vs New Zealand
New Zealand 1st inns
TWMLathamcKaushalbEranga. . . . . .27
BB McCullum c Karunaratne b Kaushal . .195
JDS Neesham c Sangakkara b Mathews .85
BJWatlinglbwbMathews. . . . . . . . . . . .26
Total:(7wickets;80.3overs). . . . . . . . .429
To bat: TG Southee, N Wagner, TA Boult .
Fall of wickets 1-37 (Rutherford, 13.1 ov),
2-60 (Latham, 19.3 ov), 3-88 (Taylor, 23.4
ov), 4-214 (Williamson, 46.2 ov), 5-367
(McCullum, 65.5 ov), 6-420 (Neesham,
74.2 ov), 7-429 (Watling, 80.3 ov)
Bowling: RAS Lakmal 17-3-83-1, RMS
Eranga 18-1-82-1, AD Mathews 9.3-1-34-
2, KTGD Prasad 12-2-62-1, PHT Kaushal
22-0-159-1, HDRL Thirimanne 2-0-5-0.
(18) and Tom Latham (27) survived the first
hour, putting only 37 for the first wicket in 13
overs. Latham was out close to lunch, when
New Zealand was 84-2, and Ross Taylor was
run out just after the break at 88-3.
Sri Lanka was in the match at that point
but when Lakmal dropped Williamson on 39
as he and McCullum restored momentum for
the hosts with a 126-run stand.
McCullum rushed on to a half century from
45 balls, while Williamson took more than
twice as many delivers---92---to reach the same
mark. Then, with a barrage of boundaries,
McCullum dashed to his century from only 74
balls, eclipsing the 81-ball century by Taylor
which was previously the fastest by a New
He lost Williamson soon after but found a
kindred spirit in Jimmy Neesham who reached
his own half century from only 52 balls with
eight fours and a six. Together they put on 153
for the fifth wicket.
Neesham was eventually out, caught at slip
by Kumar Sangakkara for 85 off 80 balls which
included 10 fours and three sixes. Sangakkara
atoned for dropping McCullum in the outfield
when he was 153.
McCullum, most destructive NZ batsman---McMillan
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