On this day in 2014 – Brendon McCullum scores New Zealand’s first Test triple ton

In 1991, New Zealand’s great batsman Martin Crowe made 299 runs in a Test match against Sri Lanka. For a long time, that stayed the highest score by any Blackcaps batsman in a Test match. But, in February 2014, Brendon McCullum became the first batsman from his country to notch up a triple century in Test cricket.

Brendon McCullum was renowned across the world as a fiery batsman who can take the attack to any opposition in the world. In 2008, in the first-ever IPL match, he had scored an unbeaten 158. With this knock, McCullum had established himself as a T20 dasher. However, when the captaincy of his national team came along, the Otago wicketkeeper-batsman had to change and get ready for the tough job.

Having made a Test captain just a few years back, McCullum was building a team which will then go on to play some really good cricket for the next few years. Many believe that it was this heroic knock by the captain which made the Blackcaps team rise from the years of mediocrity and get ready to take giant strides in international cricket.

Going into the second and the final Test against India, the New Zealand team was quite confident. A close win in the first Test in Auckland was just enough for the hosts to ensure they didn’t lose a series against India at home again. But as the second Test in Wellington started, the Indians looked in command of the match. New Zealand were bowled out for 192 in the first innings.

India managed to score 438 in their first innings. A lead of 246 runs is significant in any Test match. New Zealand had to bat well in the second innings to try and save the Test. But, the charged-up Indian bowlers reduced them to 94 for 5 midway on day three. With two and a half days left in the match, a monumental effort wouldn’t have been enough. No one thought the New Zealand team could come back, let alone save the Test.

But, their skipper thought otherwise. Coming into this Test after scoring his second double hundred against India in Auckland, McCullum tried to spend as much time as possible on the crease. By the end of day three, he had reached a century and helped Kiwis to manage a small lead as well. He batted the entire day four while having some great support from BJ Watling and debutant James Neesham. Watling played a patient knock of 124 while Neesham made an attacking 137.

McCullum ended with 302, an innings which took 559 balls. He hit 32 fours and four sixes during his stay at the crease which lasted around 13 hours. New Zealand racked up 680 for 8 and eventually declared the innings on day five, setting the Indians an improbable target of 435. The match ended in a draw and New Zealand managed a historic Test series win.