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McCullum mauls Pakistan after Craig’s best

McCullum mauls Pakistan after Craig’s best
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Opener Brendon McCullum smashed the fastest century by a New Zealand batsman to give his team an upper hand in the third and final Test against Pakistan in Sharjah, here on Friday. The Kiwi skipper completed his tenth hundred off 78 balls and went on to reach 145-ball 153 when bad light ended play seven overs earlier with New Zealand 249-1, a strong position with just 102 runs away from Pakistan’s first innings total of 351.

Kane Williamson matched his skipper’s aggression and was unbeaten on 76, putting an impressive 198 for the unfinished second wicket stand which gave New Zealand a strong position to level the series which they trail 1-0. Pakistan won the first Test while the second ended in a draw. But McCullum’s rapidfire knock was overshadowed by the gloomy atmosphere as Pakistan and New Zealand observed a minute’s silence before the start and wore black armbands to join in the mourning for young Australian batsman Phillip Hughes who died Thursday from serious head injuries after being hit by a bouncer.

The New Zealand team also did not celebrate any dismissal. The teams abandoned Thursday’s second day’s play as a mark of respect for the talented Australian. McCullum stole the show, hitting eight sixes, four off left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar, and 17 boundaries as New Zealand rattled the total in just 45 overs. In the penultimate over before tea, he hit four boundaries in one over from paceman Mohammad Talha before two quick singles completed his hundred. This was the fastest hundred ever by a New Zealand batsman, beating the 81-ball hundred Ross Taylor made against Australia at Hamilton in 2010.

Williamson, who had a dismal series before this match, hit seven fours and a six off 96 balls. Their stand is New Zealand’s best for second wicket against Pakistan, beating the 195 between John Wright and Geoff Howarth in Napier in 1997.

BRIEFSCORES NZL 249/1 (McCullum 153*, Williamson 76*) trail Pak (351) by 102 runs.
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