Brendon McCullum defends daunting declaration

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 06:37 19/02/2014

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There were no apologies from the New Zealand camp for batting India out of the second cricket test and making no race of it yesterday.

New Zealand clinched their first series win over India in 11 years after setting the tourists a lofty 435 to win off 67 overs at the Basin Reserve. Stumps were pulled just after 5.20pm with India 166-3, Virat Kohli notching his sixth test century.

It left the second-ranked tourists winless from their past 14 tests overseas while New Zealand moved past West Indies to seventh on the world rankings with their 1-0 win.

It capped one of the most dominant home summers in New Zealand cricket history.

"We were 1-0 up in the series and two and a half days ago we were staring down the barrel of an early finish on day three. We didn't want to pass up all that good work we'd done to try and give India a sniff back into the series," captain Brendon McCullum said of batting on for 11 overs after his history-making knock of 302.

New Zealand racked up their highest test total of 680-8 as the demoralised tourists sent down 210 overs.

Visiting skipper MS Dhoni insisted his team was progressing, despite going winless through back-to-back tours of South Africa and New Zealand.

"There were instances where we could have capitalised on the kind of starts we got or if we had a good partnership in the middle, but we failed to do that," Dhoni said.

"In the last test match also, in the second innings we bowled fantastically well to come back into the series. Then when we were batting, I felt we had a good partnership going but we lost wickets at the wrong time and that put the pressure back on ourselves. That's one part where we will have to improve."

Dhoni felt his team tried everything to dismiss New Zealand a second time when the hosts slumped to 94-5, trailing by 246 on the first innings after Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan bowled some outstanding spells.

Once McCullum and BJ Watling dug on for their world sixth wicket record stand of 352, the field spread, the pressure went off and even Dhoni eschewed the pads and bowled an over himself.

"When you bowl two days to a particular set of batsmen you try almost everything. Right from catching slips to catching covers to deep square leg to deep point and bowling on the pads to bowling outside off. At times it works, at times it does not work. I think as a cricket fan, he [McCullum] batted really well and he was given good company by Watling. They played close to 500-odd deliveries which is very tough."

And there was the catching.

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Virat Kohli dropped a one-handed grab with McCullum on nine, a vital miss, then Sharma shelled a caught and bowled offering on 36.

Asked whether he owed Kohli a bottle of wine, McCullum said: "I'm not sure what sort of wine he drinks but he probably got his bit of karma back [when Kohli survived a caught behind on 15]. I very much appreciated him putting that one down but thankfully I didn't offer too many chances after that."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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