New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum hit the fastest century in test history, from 54 balls, in his last international match as the home side put on a display of power hitting today, the first day of the second test against Australia.
McCullum beat the previous mark of 56 balls shared by West Indies 'Master Blaster' Viv Richards and Pakistan's Misbah-ul-Haq, and his innings led New Zealand to a creditable 370 after being sent in on a green pitch. In reply, Australia was 57-1.
McCullum raced from 80 to 100 in just four balls, with two sixes and two fours off Josh Hazlewood, reaching the record with a four through extra cover. McCullum was eventually out for 145, superbly caught at deep square leg by Nathan Lyon off James Pattinson, off 79 balls with 21 fours and two sixes.
His innings had guided New Zealand from early trouble at 32-3 to 253-5 when he departed. "The record is something you're immensely proud of but of course you don't set out to achieve it," McCullum said. "I managed to ride my luck all the way through and we're in a pretty strong position at the end of day one."
The main piece of luck was a reprieve after being brilliantly caught by Mitchell Marsh at gully. McCullum was on his way back to the pavilion when replays showed Pattinson had overstepped, and it was a no-ball.
Corey Anderson, who batted in McCullum's shadow, still reached a brisk half century from 39 balls and was out soon after McCullum for 73. At tea, B.J. Watling was on 6 and Tim Southee on 5, after a ballistic second session that saw 199 runs scored at a rate of 8.9 runs per over.
The century partnership for the fifth wicket between McCullum and Anderson, from 57 balls, was the fastest in test history, beating the stand for the 10th wicket between New Zealand's Nathan Astle and Chris Cairns against England in 2002. The McCullum-Anderson partnership of 179 came at the staggering rate of 9.76 runs per over.
"It was obviously a really special day and the partnership that Corey (Anderson) and I were able to create was really important for our team," McCullum said. "The wicket had quite a bit in it so we decided the best form of defense was attack and we got a bit lucky as well."
McCullum fittingly will leave international cricket with a brilliant and belligerent innings that typified his career. New Zealand was in serious trouble after losing the toss and being sent in to bat on a moist, green wicket which provided extravagant seam movement.
The Australian bowlers were fully in control, having dismissed Martin Guptill for 18, Tom Latham for 4 and Henry Nicholls for 7 in the first 90 minutes. Kane Williamson was out for 7 in the first over after lunch.
Runs had virtually dried up when McCullum began his innings but he soon changed that. Hazlewood had allowed only 11 runs from his first 10 overs; he then conceded 57 from his next four and McCullum passed the record mark by hitting 6, 4, 4, 6 from four balls off Hazlewood in the 36th over to reach his century.
While the lasting memory of the day will be McCullum's innings, Australia was reasonably well placed on a pitch that should be more docile on Sunday. Trent Boult did take the vital wicket of Australia's principal aggressor in David Warner, but Joe Burns (27 not out) and Usman Khawaja (18 not out) batted watchfully to guide the visitors to stumps without further loss.