Brendon McCullum heroics deny India at Basin

06:02, Feb 17 2014
Black Caps v India 2nd Test
India's Ishant Sharma bowls during day one of the second international test cricket match against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
Black Caps v India 2nd Test
India's players celebrate around New Zealand's Kane Williamson (C) during day one of the second international test cricket match at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
Black Caps v India 2nd Test
India's Ishant Sharma falls over playing a shot during the first innings on day two of the second international test cricket match against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
Black Caps v India 2nd Test
India's Ajinkya Rahane (L) and New Zealand's Trent Boult (C) watch Ravindra Jadeja's (R) shot during the first innings on day two of the second international test cricket match at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
Black Caps v India 2nd Test
India's Ajinkya Rahane signals his century against New Zealand during the first innings on day two of the second international test cricket match at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
Black Caps v India 2nd Test
New Zealand's BJ Watling makes his ground during the second innings on day three of the second international test cricket match against India at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
Black Caps v India 2nd Test
India's Zaheer Khan (L) bowls to New Zealand's Brendon McCullum (unseen) during the second innings on day four of the second international test cricket match at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
Black Caps v India 2nd Test
New Zealand's Brendon McCullum plays a shot against India during the second innings on day four of the second international test cricket match at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
Black Caps v India 2nd Test
Zaheer Khan of India (L) celebrates his wicket of Hamish Rutherford of New Zealand (R) during day three of the 2nd Test match between New Zealand and India at the Basin Reserve.
Black Caps v India 2nd Test
Ravindra Jadeja of India appeals during day three of the 2nd Test match between New Zealand and India at the Basin Reserve.
Black Caps v India 2nd Test
Brendon McCullum of New Zealand ducks under a bouncer during day four of the 2nd Test match between New Zealand and India.
Black Caps v India 2nd Test
BJ Watling of New Zealand remains watchful during his innings on day four of the 2nd Test match between New Zealand and India.
Black Caps v India 2nd Test
BJ Watling of New Zealand celebrates his century during the second innings on day four of the second international test cricket against India.
Black Caps v India 2nd Test
Brendon McCullum of New Zealand acknowledges the crowd in celebration of his double century.
Brendon McCullum gallery
Brendon McCullum acknowledges the crowd as he leaves the field at the end of play on day four.
Black Caps v India second test
New Zealand's Brendon McCullum acknowledges his 200 against India during the second innings on day four of the second international test cricket match at the Basin Reserve.
Black Caps v India second test
New Zealand's BJ Watling (R) and India's Shikhar Dhawan (L) and MS Dhoni watch the ball during the second innings on day four of their second international test cricket match at the Basin Reserve.
Black Caps v India second test
New Zealand's Brendon McCullum plays a shot against India during the second innings on day four of the second international test cricket match at the Basin Reserve.
Black Caps v India second test
BJ Watling celebrates his century on Day 4 of the 2nd cricket test match at The Hawkins Basin Reserve. Wellington.
Black Caps v India second test
BJ Watling ducks a bouncer on Day 4 of the 2nd cricket test match at The Hawkins Basin Reserve.
Black Caps v India second test
Brendon McCullum ducks a bouncer on Day 4 of the 2nd cricket test match at The Hawkins Basin Reserve.
Black Caps v India second test
BJ Watling on Day 4 of the 2nd cricket test match at The Hawkins Basin Reserve. Wellington.
Black Caps v India second test
Brendon McCullum's father watches the match on Day 4 of the 2nd cricket test match at The Hawkins Basin Reserve.
Black Caps v India second test
Brendon McCullum at the end of the days play as Shikhar Dhawan congratulates him on Day 4 of the 2nd cricket test match at The Hawkins Basin Reserve.
McCullum the man
McCullum becomes the first New Zealander to score a Test Match triple century.

A day which dawned with humbling defeat high on the agenda, will instead go down as one of the most memorable in New Zealand test cricket history.

Especially if the Black Caps can kick on tomorrow and bowl their way to what would be one of the most improbable test wins of all time.

New Zealand went to stumps at 571 for six, having begun the day at 252 for five

They will resume tomorrow 325 runs ahead with McCullum unbeaten on 281 and Jimmy Neesham on 67. 

BJ Watling's was the one wicket to fall on another quality day of cricket in which the one constant was McCullum.

It's a long shot that New Zealand can bowl India out to tomorrow or if they'll even try.

That it's even a consideration or that they now look like, at worst, they'll draw and win the series 1-0 is largely down to one man.

To bat on grimly for almost an entire day of test cricket is one thing, especially when, in McCullum's case, you're a player who expresses his talent through expansive shots.

But the idea that the New Zealand captain could do it all again today seemed fanciful. 

History has shown the man is simply too free, too keen to dominate, too much of a gambler and hunch taker to tie himself down too long.

He said the situation had required it on day three, so he had. But today loomed as being a different story.

Well, how wrong could you be?

Instead McCullum played with similar restraint and responsibility, going on and on until he'd played the longest innings in New Zealand test history. 

He set a slew of other marks along the way; either on his own or as part of the highest test partnership for the sixth wicket of all time, with Watling.

That was some feat in itself, with Watling finally out for his highest test score of 124.

Only McCullum wasn't done. Obviously weary and troubled by various niggles, the captain willed himself further still, posting a century partnership with Neesham and taking the team past 550.

Think of some of the words that have been used to describe McCullum by various detractors over the years. 

Those descriptions have no place being mentioned here and, hopefully, won't be uttered ever again.

In the first test at Eden Park, and now here, McCullum has played innings' of the highest calibre in situations when his team badly needed them. 

The Auckland knock was more typical of his career, with buccaneering moments and runs coming at a good clip.

But this Basin innings has to be described as extraordinary. Maybe even career-changing.

The old assumptions about McCullum don't apply anymore. There'll still be times when he frustrates fans or sells himself short, but fighting double hundreds in consecutive tests are only scored by special players and these last two days of batting at the Basin move McCullum into a different echelon of New Zealand test cricketer. 

SCOREBOARD

Day four of the second test at the Basin Reserve, Wellington:

NEW ZEALAND

First innings 192

Second innings (252-5 overnight)

P Fulton lbw b Zaheer 1

H Rutherford c Dhoni b Zaheer 35

K Williamson c Dhoni b Zaheer 7

T Latham c Dhoni b Shami 29

B McCullum not out 281

C Anderson c and b Jadeja 2

B Watling lbw b Shami 124

J Neesham not out 67

Extras (b 5, lb 11, wd 2, nb 7) 25

Total (for 6 wkts, 189 overs) 571

Fall: 1, 27, 52, 87, 94, 446.

Bowling: I Sharma 39-4-124-0 (6nb), Zaheer Khan 43-12-129-3 (2w), M Shami 40-5-136-2, R Jadeja 49-10-108-1, R Sharma 11-0-40-0, V Kohli 6-1-13-0 (1nb), M Dhoni 1-0-5-0.

INDIA


First innings 438

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