Brendon McCullum smashed a century in © Getty Images
Brendon McCullum smashed a century in 78 balls © Getty Images

In the third Test of the series against Pakistan, Brendon McCullum smashed a 78-ball century to register the quickest Test century for New Zealand. Bharath Seervi lists the fastest Test hundreds for New Zealand and other teams.

Just a day after the Phillip Hughes’ sad demise, Brendon McCullum smashed a century in 78 balls. It turned out to be the fastest Test hundred by a New Zealand batsman. Pakistan had put on 351 in the first innings, but McCullum responded in outrageous style.

McCullum hit a four on the first ball he faced. He was quiet for about ten balls Before unleashing the big shots. He reached his half-century in just 30 balls in the 13th over. It was the second-fastest half-century by a New Zealand batsman in Tests (Tim Southee who had scored 50 in 29 balls against England at Napier in March 2008 on debut). This inning was also the first fifty for McCullum since he scored 302 against India at Wellington in February, 10 innings back.

At one point of time, it looked like he may score the fastest Test century (the record being held by Viv Richards and Misbah-ul-Haq in 56 balls) but he played a few dot balls after reaching 75. He had raced to had 75 from 50 balls in the 19th over, and eventually reached his century in 78 balls on the final delivery of the 25th over at the stroke of tea.

Fastest Test tons for New Zealand

Brendon McCullum surpassed Ross Taylor’s record of fastest Test century by a New Zealand batsman in Tests. Taylor had reached 100 in 81 balls against Australia at Hamilton in March 2008. The table below lists the top five fastest Test tons for New Zealand.

Balls Batsman Final score Against Venue Date
78 Brendon McCullum * Pakistan Sharjah November 28, 2014
81 Ross Taylor 138 (104) Australia Hamilton March 28, 2010
82 Daniel Vettori 127 (98) Zimbabwe Harare August 7, 2005
83 Bruce Taylor 124 (??) West Indies Auckland February 27, 1969
86 Chris Cairns 120 (96) Zimbabwe Auckland January 23, 1996

?? – Balls not known;* – McCullum is unbeaten on 153 at Stumps Day 2.

Bruce Taylor had scored an 83-ball century in 1969 and held the record for New Zealand for more than 25 years. Chris Cairns neared the record when he scored an 86-ball ton in 1996. Bruce Taylor’s was surpassed by Daniel Vettori (82 balls) in 2005. In the same innings McCullum had scored a 94-ball century, his second test ton. Ross Taylor went past Vettori in 2010 against Australia by reaching.

Fastest Test centurions for each team

McCullum now holds the record of the fastest Test ton for New Zealand. Let us list the fastest Test centurions for all teams. The table below contains the list (in alphabetic order of teams).

Team Balls Batsman Final score Against Venue
Australia 57 Adam Gilchrist 102* (59) England WACA
Bangladesh 94 Tamim Iqbal 103 (100) England Lord’s
England 76 Gilbert Jessop 104 (??) Australia The Oval
India 74 Kapil Dev 163 (165) Sri Lanka Green Park
74 Mohammad Azharuddin 109 (77) South Africa Eden Gardens
New Zealand 78 Brendon McCullum * Pakistan Sharjah
Pakistan 56 Misbah-ul-Haq 101* (57) Australia Abu Dhabi
South Africa 75 AB de Villiers 129* (112) India Centurion
Sri Lanka 81 Mahela Jayawardene 150 (115) Bangladesh Colombo (SSC)
West Indies 56 Vivian Richards 110* (58) England St John’s
Zimbabwe+ 118 Brendan Taylor 117 (147) New Zealand Bulawayo

?? – Balls not known; * – McCullum is unbeaten on 153 at Stumps Day 2.

(+) In case of Zimbabwe, as far as ball by ball details are known, Brendan Taylor’s 118-ball century is the fastest.

(Bharath Seervi is a cricket statistician who is obsessed with digging numbers, facts and records related to the game. An active member of Society of Cricket Statisticians of India, he blogs at www.cricketseervistats.blogspot.com. He can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SeerviBharath and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeerviCricket)