Epic Innings Earns International Acclaim
Black Caps captain Brendan McCullum’s magisterial triple century – the first ever achieved by a New Zealander – has been hailed by Indian media as one of the greatest innings in cricket history. As The Hindu’s S. Dinaker wrote, McCullum’s achievement was “a timeless monument … as much about heart and skill”.
Dinaker nailed it – the heart shown by McCullum in scoring 302 runs over three days was immense, an exhibition of true grit and in itself a new record: the longest innings ever played by a New Zealander.
When he led his players back on to the Basin Reserve Pitch to thank the crowd for its support during the epic rear-guard action to save the test and win a series against the No. 2 test side in the world, McCullum was looking gaunt from the mammoth effort and concentration he expended over nearly 13 hours.
When the captain strode to the wicket on day three, New Zealand were 52/3 and still needing another 194 runs just to make India bat again. Within 90 minutes, the Kiwis were reeling at 94/5 and facing utter oblivion with more than two days still to play.
To save the test and win the series from that position is, as The Times of India, The Hindu and Hindustan Times note, an incredible and scarcely believable achievement.
He didn’t do it alone. Wicketkeeper BJ Watling (124 runs) helped McCullum establish the largest sixth wicket partnership of all time by any country. Then young Jimmy Neesham (137 not out) piled on the misery for the Indian bowlers as he and his captain took the game out of India’s reach.
McCullum is known for his shot-making but, says Dinaker, this innings underlined his commitment under duress, including several injuries to his arm, back and shoulder.
“It was not aggression but the amazing focus and temperament of the 32-year-old that left India floundering,” writes N. Ananthanarayanan in the Hindustan, who rates the innings above the previous highest New Zealand score, 299 by Martin Crowe against Sri Lanka.
“The New Zealand skipper made a loud statement for test cricket, and his class while playing one of the greatest innings ever played by a Kiwi batsman, under massive pressure.”
For the home crowd, this was further evidence of its cricket team’s development. Playing one of the true giants of the game – and this Indian side is the best XI to tour this country since the Australians under Ricky Ponting – they twice got themselves into trouble and on both occasions dug deep and rescued the situation.
No series victory has ever been more deserved.