79 DELIVERIES, 21 FOURS, 6 SIXES
NEW ZEALAND V AUSTRALIA, 2ND TEST, CHRISTCHURCH, 2016
New Zealand 370 (McCullum 145; Lyon 3-61) & 335 (Williamson 97; Bird 5-59) lost to Australia 505 (Burns 170, Smith 138; Wagner 6-106) & 201-3 by seven wickets
OPPOSITION ATTACK: Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson, Jackson Bird, Mitchell Marsh, Nathan Lyon
McCullum’s triple century against India in 2014 must rank as his most significant innings – as he became the first New Zealander to reach the landmark and batted his team to a draw that sealed a series win against the world’s No.1 Test team – but the pyrotechnics at his farewell party will live longer in the memory, and that is reflected in the way our panel voted.
On a green seamer at Hagley Oval, the Kiwi skipper went hell for leather against the Aussie quicks, determined to exit Test cricket in a manner that befitted his approach to the game as a whole, despite the bowler-friendly conditions.
As a series of thick edges screamed past the slip cordon, it felt like something special was brewing and as he motored to his half-century in 34 deliveries, suddenly it was on: the record for the fastest Test ton, shared by Viv Richards and Misbah-ul-Haq – 56 balls – was in his sights. He got there with two balls to spare, hitting Josh Hazlewood for a six and three fours in the space of four deliveries in a berserk display of hitting.
There could have been no more fitting sign-off to his remarkable international career.
‘I’VE ONLY GOT ONE WAY TO PLAY HERE’
I thought I’d go out swinging. I’d never have been able to live with myself if I’d go out defending in my last Test match! I was like: ‘Kane Williamson, best player in the world, greatest defensive technique around, and he can’t lay a bat on it!’ I don’t have a defensive technique, so there’s no chance I’m gonna play like that. I turned round to BJ Watling and said, ‘Mate, I’ve only got one way to play here’.
Brendon McCullum, ‘Play The Game Because It’s Fun’, AOC 142