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25 February 2024

McCullum defies India with epic double century

New Zealand's Brendon McCullum leaves the field on 281 not out against India during the second innings at the end of play on day four of the second Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, February 17, 2014. (REUTERS)

By Reuters

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum struck a second double-century in successive Tests to bat his side to safety at the end of the fourth day of the second Test against India at Wellington's Basin Reserve on Monday.

McCullum was on 281, his highest Test score and the second highest by a New Zealander, at the close of play after having shared a world record stand for sixth wicket with wicketkeeper BJ Watling who was dismissed for 124 in the third over after tea.

Debutant Jimmy Neesham was on 67 at the close of play with the hosts on 571 for six, a lead of 325 runs and seemingly in a position where they cannot lose the match and series with a day's play remaining.

New Zealand had won the first Test at Eden Park by 40 runs and India had needed to win the game to level the two-match series. .

Andrew Jones and Martin Crowe hold the highest partnership for New Zealand after they scored a then-world record of 467 against Sri Lanka in 1991.

McCullum, who scored 224 in the first Test at Eden Park, is the second New Zealand batsman after Stephen Fleming to have scored three Test double-centuries.

All of McCullum's have come against India, his first a 225 in 2010.

McCullum and Watling came together shortly after lunch on Sunday at 94 for five, still 152 runs from making the visitors bat again.

The naturally aggressive McCullum curbed his attacking instincts and battled problems with his shoulder and troublesome back in taking his side to a six-run lead at stumps on Sunday.

They survived to guide New Zealand to lunch at 347-5, a lead of 101 runs, and picked up from where they left off by accumulating singles, leaving plenty of deliveries and hitting bad balls to the boundary.

Milestone after milestone fell in the middle session with the ground announcer seemingly making a new announcement every five minutes.

Watling brought up his ton when he clipped a Zaheer Khan half-volley off his legs to the midwicket fence for his 12th boundary and was warmly embraced by his captain.

McCullum then flayed a wide delivery to the cover boundary to bring up the 300-run partnership and moved his personal score to 199.

The 32-year-old had to wait until after the drinks break to notch his 200th run, but clipped a ball to the midwicket fence to bring up the milestone and received a standing ovation from the small crowd.

The first New Zealand batsman to have scored a double-century in successive Tests, McCullum is also the second to have achieved two double-centuries in a Test series after Glenn Turner against West Indies in 1972.

India must win the match to level the two-Test series after New Zealand won the first Test by 40 runs.