Brendon McCullum was unbeaten on 202 at lunch © Getty images
By Abhijit Banare
Feb 7, 2014
Brendon McCullum‘s unbeaten double century helped New Zealand gallop to 473 for seven at lunch on Day Two of the first Test against India at Auckland. The Kiwis scored 144 runs in the 24 overs bowled in the first session.
Resuming Day Two on 329 for four, McCullum and Corey Anderson were down to the task of scoring at a brisk rate. On expected lines, it was Anderson who played the role of aggressor with some impressive pull shots and fine strokes on the off behind the wicket. Less than 20 overs old, the new ball lost its shape and had to be replaced. Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma bowled a fuller length to get some movement but that helped the Kiwis’ cause with the edges running past gully for boundaries and opportunities for the batsmen to drive the ball.
The disappointing part of the Indian pacers though was inconsistency. They managed to go past the bat on a few occasions but kept offering width for the batsman. This allowed McCullum, in particular, to go for his square cuts. Ishant in particular was guilty of doing this regularly. He was thrashed for three boundaries in an over by Anderson. Zaheer’s pace was hardly a test as well.
In comparison to the open field on the first day, where MS Dhoni invited the batsman to be aggressive, he adopted a much more traditional field set up on the second day. After a point, it seemed as though the Indians had surrendered their fate to this partnership.
However, Ishant managed to find the breakthrough when a round the wicket delivery struck just above the knee roll of Anderson. Umpire Steve Davis raised his finger with skipper McCullum nodding in disapproval standing in front of him. The replays showed that the ball would have gone over the stumps. Anderson scored 77 runs and shared a 133-run stand off 189 balls with McCullum. A total of 69 runs were scored in the first 13 overs of play on Day Two when drinks were taken.
Meanwhile, McCullum’s confidence was on full display when he played through the line to a half-volley from Zaheer, which whizzed straight past the non-striker’s stumps for a boundary. Ishant managed to get one more wicket when wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling nicked one to third slip, where Shikhar Dhawan took a good catch in front of him.
New Zealand reached 400 with a defensive push running away for a boundary from new batsman Tim Southee. The pacer was given some chin music from Ishant who sent down a barrage of short deliveries. Southee was shaken but that didn’t deter him from taking on Ishant. And he didn’t do much harm to his reputation slamming two sixes, both flying off top-edges over the fine-leg fence. Southee had quickly galloped to 28 when Mohammed Shami bowled him.
All this while, McCullum was steady anchoring the innings ahead. He was eight short of a double ton with an over to go for lunch. He first slapped a six off Ravindra Jadeja down the ground. With two required on the last ball, he swept it for a boundary towards deep square-leg and completed his second double ton in Test cricket — both scored against India.
New Zealand 473 for 7 (Kane Williamson 113, Brendon McCullum 202*, Corey Anderson 77; Ishant Sharma 4 for 122, Zaheer Khan 2 for 98) vs India.
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)