WELLINGTON- Brendon McCullum became New Zealand’s first triple-centurion in 84 years of Test cricket Tuesday, securing a famous series win against India and uniting the country in praise.
The bearded captain, 32, who is carrying multiple injuries, batted for nearly 13 hours for a match-saving 302 which put him in the company of all-time greats Don Bradman and Wally Hammond.
Wellington’s Basin Reserve erupted in a standing ovation as McCullum cut Zaheer Khan for four to bring up the triple century, and the applause resumed just two balls later when he was out caught behind.
McCullum’s 302 surpassed Martin Crowe’s 299 — compiled at the same ground in 1991 — to become the highest score by a New Zealander in 391 Tests since 1930.
After his 224 in the first-Test win, it made him just the third man after Australia’s Bradman, and England’s Hammond in the 1930s, to score double and triple tons in consecutive Tests.
“I’m very respectful of all the guys I managed to get past today, Martin Crowe in particular who’s held the record for over 20 years,” said McCullum after the Test was drawn, handing New Zealand a 1-0 series victory.
“I almost feel a little embarrassed to go past someone of that caliber, and Stephen Fleming and all the other names as well. It’s incredibly humbling to put your name up there and score the first triple century for New Zealand.”
The number five batsman came to the crease before lunch on Sunday, with wickets falling and New Zealand staring at a series-leveling defeat in the second Test.
Seven hundred and fifty-nine minutes later, after facing 559 balls and despite back and shoulder problems, he departed with the match saved and with New Zealand even dreaming of an improbable victory.
Along the way, he took part in a world-record, 352 sixth-wicket partnership with BJ Watling and helped New Zealand reach their highest Test score of 680.