Monday, September 1, 2014   

(Cricket) McCullum on a high, Indians draw a blank
(02-18 14:22)

An epic triple century by captain Brendon McCullum in a record innings took New Zealand from the brink of a test defeat to a series win over India today.
The second test petered out to a draw with India on 166 for 3 in their second innings after being set a near impossible target of 435 in 67 overs at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
Shikhar Dhawan (two), Murali Vijay (seven) and Cheteshwar Pujara (17) fell quickly after lunch giving New Zealand faint hope they could press for victory, AFP reports.
But Virat Kohli buried that notion as he progressed to 105, his sixth test century, with Rohit Sharma on 31. Tim Southee took 2 for 50 for New Zealand.
It was a miserable tour for cricket powerhouse India who won every toss against lowly New Zealand yet lost the ODI series 4-0 and now the test series 1-0.
The most celebrated New Zealand effort was McCullum's 302, the first triple century by a New Zealander in a 13-hour performance.
He went to the middle at 52 for 3 on the third day and an hour later, when BJ Watling joined him, New Zealand were 94 for 5 with ominous signs of an early defeat.
But the two batsmen with a reputation for flamboyance knuckled down to produce the diligence they recalled from their time as openers many years earlier.
They slowly and carefully took New Zealand to 246 for 5 to avoid an innings defeat and on 680 for 8 declared, New Zealand's highest test total, just before lunch on day five.
As the toll rose India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's face dropped as hopes of his world number two side snatching a face-saving win disappeared in a series of well-placed ones and twos and the occasional boundary.
McCullum was dropped on nine by Kohli and on 36 by Ishant Sharma, chances India would deeply regret as the New Zealand captain took the game away from them.
In a match of milestones, McCullum became the 24th player to score a triple century, and he eclipsed the previous best by a New Zealander, 299 set by Martin Crowe 23 years ago.
McCullum and Watling, who made a career-best 124, set a world-record sixth-wicket test stand of 352, and Jimmy Neesham finished unbeaten on 137, a world record for a number eight batsman on debut.
McCullum became just the third man after Australian Don Bradman and England's Wally Hammond in the 1930s to score double and triple tons in consecutive tests.

   
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