A world record sixth-wicket partnership saw Brendon McCullum making an unbeaten 281 along with wicketkeeper BJ Watling’s 124 to help New Zealand in building an out-of-reach 325-run lead over India, on the fourth day of the second cricket test on Monday.
At the end of the 4th day, McCullum was still on the crease
Besides the record partnership, it was McCullum’s highest test score — and after Martin Crowe’s 299 against Sri Lanka, the second-highest score by any New Zealand test batsman — and he is well in the run to become to reach a test triple century on the final day the first New Zealander.
Watling said, “It’s been a pretty special day’s test cricket,” adding that “Obvious Brendon’s performance was phenomenal,”. He was finally out for 124, thus causing a sudden end to the partnership producing 352 runs in 8-and-a-half hours and undoubtedly, they steered New Zealand from the gallows of defeat to a confident position from which they can conceivably go out to win the match and series. It should be remembered here that the host leads the two-match series 1-0 after having a marginal 40 run win in the first test at Auckland.
McCullum is in tremendous form with his double century being his second among the four innings in this series and the third of his career. India was at the receiving side in all the three cases which includes his previous top test score of 225 at Hyderabad in November, 2010. And the test history crowns him as only the seventh batsman to score a double century in consecutive tests.
When McCullum and Watling came together four overs after lunch on the third day, New Zealand was literally struggling to avoid an innings defeat with them at 94-5 then and they battled to overcome the 246-run lead by reaching 438 in addition its first innings of 192.
McCullum, a former wicketkeeper turned batsman, and Watling, a former opening batsman turned wicketkeeper, guided New Zealand to 347-5 at lunch and carried on relentlessly to 440 at tea, still with four sessions of the match remaining and the same five wickets in hand.
The odds of New Zealand saving the match lessened with each odd run and in the same way, the longer odds of winning the match also began to fall.
After exactly 510 minutes, the mountainous partnership was finally broken much to Dhoni’s relief when Mohammed Shami trapped South Africa-born Watling off his third delivery with the third new ball.
McCullum’s chronic back injury needed occasional treatment throughout the fourth day but he kept on playing an innings of outstanding diligence and concentration. His innings of more than 12 hours by stumps is the longest-ever test innings played by any New Zealand batsman.
India went into the match with three fast bowlers and while the sixth wicket partnership kept stretching on the lead, their workload had become almost intolerable with both the Indian skipper and the bowlers looking clueless. Inspite of Ishant Sharma (39 overs), Zaheer Khan (33 overs, 3-129),and Mohammed Shami (40 overs) working hard throughout the day, they had been progressively worn down. Spinner Ravindra Jadeja took 1-108 in hiss 49 overs as New Zealand scored 318 runs Monday for the loss of only one wicket.