McCullum 281 not out thwarts India

India

Captain Brendon McCullum spoke vehemently of the need for a New Zealand batsman to score a double century on day four of the final Test – and delivered on cue, as India's pursuit of an early victory was entirely stymied at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Monday.

Captain Brendon McCullum spoke vehemently of the need for a New Zealand batsman to score a double century on day four of the final Test – and delivered on cue, as India's pursuit of an early victory was entirely stymied at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Monday.

McCullum amassed a resounding 281 not out in a total of 571 for six – for a large lead of 325 – to truly undo the opposition's ambition of capitalising on a promising position.

Indeed, the Black Caps had slumped to 94 for five – before the host skipper and sidekick BJ Watling combined for a prolific 352-run stand across exaclty 123 overs. All the criticism India have faced for a lack of depth in the seam ranks was vindicated.

Tuesday will bring a prime opportunity for the right-handed McCullum to become the first New Zealander in the history of Test cricket to graduate to a triple century.

He has surpassed the unbeaten 274 reached by former captain Stephen Fleming against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 2003 – and is less than 20 runs shy of succeeding the veteran Martin Crowe's 299 achieved against the Sri Lankans in Wellington more than two decades ago.

The Indians had no answer to the new week's dominance, deploying three part-time bowlers in Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, while the specialists consistently emerged empty handed.

The lone success of the day was Watling's departure. The wicketkeeper-batsman put in an outstanding vigil, which ended on 124 – 13 boundaries included – when seamer Mohammed Shami struck with a reasonably straightforward lbw dismissal.

The stalwart McCullum, meanwhile, struck 28 boundaries and a quartet of hefty sixes. The double-centurion found more complementary support in debutant Jimmy Neesham, who moved to 67 not out during an unbroken 125-run stand.

Four-nil victors in the preceding ODIs against the same opposition and triumphant by 40 runs in the series opener in Auckland, the Kiwis only require a draw to complete a rare Test series win over an Indian unit considerably superior in the International Cricket Council's coveted rankings.

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