Millennium Post

Belligerent McCullum puts NZ on top

Belligerent McCullum puts NZ on top
Record-breaking Brendon McCullum was at his belligerent best as he led New Zealand to a commanding 429/7 on the first day of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Christchurch on Friday. His whirlwind 195 runs off 134 deliveries included 11 sixes and 18 fours and came after he lost the toss and New Zealand were made to bat on a green wicket that bore all the hallmarks of a bowler’s paradise.

McCullum, who admitted he desperately wanted to win the toss to bowl first, instead destroyed the Sri Lankan attack with the bat as he stood in century partnerships with Kane Williamson and Jimmy Neesham.

Neesham was undone for 85, Williamson for 54. As McCullum bludgeoned the bowling, he cracked the fastest century in New Zealand Test history and became the first New Zealander to score 1,000 runs in a calendar year. He equalled the New Zealand record of 26 off one over, when he smashed three sixes and two fours off one over by Sri Lanka strike bowler Suranga Lakmal, and finished with 11 sixes, one short of the world record of 12 sixes in an innings held by Pakistan’s Wasim Akram. It was a colossal captain’s knock which began with Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews feeling satisfied with New Zealand at 88/3 when Ross Taylor was run out in the first over after lunch. 

Sri Lankan optimism quickly evaporated as McCullum took just 74 deliveries to reach his 11th Test century, eclipsing his own 78-ball record set against Pakistan in Sharjah last month. He had a scare on 153 when Kumar Sangakkara missed a straight-forward opportunity at long-on, before he was eventually undone when he launched into offspinner Tharindu Kaushal. He hit a six, two and four off consecutive balls off the debutant bowler before getting too far under the fourth delivery and was caught by a diving Dimuth Karunaratne at long-off.

Briefscores New Zealand 429/7 (McCullum 195, Neesham 85) vs Sri Lanka (Mathews 2/34) on Day 1. 

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