Brendon McCullum, NZ cricket history maker
HAMISH BIDWELL AND MARK GEENTY
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No wonder he looked so shattered.
Triple centurion Brendon McCullum doesn't like to eat until his innings is over - so during his stint of nearly 13 hours at the crease he was surviving on sports drinks and protein shakes, brought out to him by team-mates at 20-minute intervals.
His personal no-eating rule would not typically cause too much of a problem for a man with a fast scoring rate and a test average in the 30s. But when he strode to the Basin Reserve crease before lunch on Sunday, he can't have known he would still be there a full 48 hours later.
New Zealand recorded their first test series victory over India since 2002 when the second match ended in a draw yesterday after McCullum had become the first New Zealander to score a test triple century.
While McCullum put in the hard yards on the field, twelfth man Ish Sodhi and emergency fielder Peter Younghusband - from the Petone-Eastbourne club - were working hard behind the scenes to make sure he was regularly supplied with gels, water, protein shakes and Gatorade.
There were also regular requests for towels, fresh batting gloves and tape to repair a hole on the grip of his bat handle. McCullum said last night he was not a superstitious man, but was not about to call for a new bat or grip while the old ones were serving him so well.
Thousands of Wellingtonians delayed or canned their working day for the chance to witness him make history yesterday. The grass bank at the Basin was packed as he began his agonising march with 19 runs needed for his triple ton. Every leave, every block, every single and every boundary was cheered by the nervous crowd, many in office attire.
Debutant Jimmy Neesham brought up his own milestone first - a century in his first test - and then it was McCullum's turn.
A slash to the boundary took him past the magical 300 and the crowd roared with relief and elation.
"I've never experienced anything like that before," McCullum said of the atmosphere. "That's something I'll hold on to for the rest of my life."
Not that he let emotion get the better of him: "Nah, no tear in the eye. I'm from south Dunedin."
McCullum could easily have been an All Black instead. He played first five-eighth for King's High School in Dunedin, and once kept Dan Carter out of the South Island secondary schools' team.
"He came on for me at the back end of the first game, then in the last game I played the whole game and he came on at wing," McCullum said yesterday, adding with a grin that the selectors "clearly got it wrong".
Punters had plenty of faith in McCullum, according to the TAB. It opened betting on whether he would reach 300 just before tea on Monday, and more than 80 per cent of bets were on his making it. While most bets were in the $10 to $30 range, one punter placed $3000 on him to get the triple century - at odds of $2.50.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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