Two of Brendon McCullum's fastest international hundreds came in Tests! © AFP
Two of Brendon McCullum’s fastest international hundreds came in Tests! © AFP

Brendon McCullum is playing his final international match in the second Test between New Zealand and Australia at Christchurch. He came in to bat with New Zealand 32 for 3 early on Day One, and proceeded to score the fastest ever Test century, off just 54 balls. In doing so McCullum broke the 56-ball record shared by Viv Richards (who did it in 1986) and Misbah-ul-Haq (who did it in 2014). Of course, rip-roaring centuries are nothing new for McCullum. Of his five fastest international tons, two were scored in T20Is, two in Tests, and one in an ODI. Here are McCullum’s five fastest international centuries, arranged in descending order of strike rate at the time of his dismissal or the end of the innings. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: New Zealand vs Australia, 2nd Test at Christchurch

1. Bangladesh vs New Zealand at Pallekele, ICC World T20 2012, 123(58): McCullum’s best century in terms of strike rate came when he massacred Bangladesh during the ICC World T20 2012 in Sri Lanka. Batting at No. 3, McCullum started slowly, scoring just 9 off his first 10 balls. He soon cut loose, and ended up hammering 11 fours and seven sixes en route to his 58-ball 123 as New Zealand got to 191 for 3. READ: Brendon McCullum among the best modern captains

2. New Zealand vs Australia 2009-10, 2nd T20I at Christchurch, 116*(56): For a chunk of his career, McCullum averaged more in T20Is than he did in Tests and ODIs. He was perhaps the most successful T20I batsman of his generation along with Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chris Gayle. He played one of the most outrageous T20I innings against Australia at Christchurch in 2009-10. READ: Thanks for the memories, Brendon McCullum

McCullum took on Shaun Tait and Dirk Nannes — both of whom were bowling frequently at over 150 kph — by either stepping out or playing the ramp shot. He was especially lethal against Nannes, taking him for 51 in his four overs. Tait and Ryan Harris went for 10 runs and over as well, as McCullum’s 56-ball 116 not out propelled New Zealand to 214 for 6. Amazingly, Australia managed to tie the game before New Zealand won the Super Over. READ: Brendon McCullum: Cricket’s Wolverine!

3. New Zealand vs Australia 2015-16, 2nd Test at Christchurch, 145(79): McCullum had been dismissed for a duck in the first innings of his 100th Test and Australia went on to win the match. In the second match, Australia had New Zealand on the ropes at 32 for 3 on the first morning when ‘Baz’ walked out. This was his final Test, and McCullum was in no mood to let Australia romp home again. READ: Brendon McCullum Test retirement: Best knocks of the New Zealand skipper

McCullum was beaten off the first ball he faced. He slogged at the second and got four over the slip cordon. He was on 5 off 4 balls when Mitchell Marsh came on to bowl the 23rd over of the match. McCullum decided he had seen enough: 6, 0, 4, 4, 6, 1. Baz was on his way. He got to his 50 off 34 balls. He was on 82 off 50 balls when he decided that the fastest 100 of all time was his for the taking. He had five balls in which to make it. He only needed four. Having got to a 54-ball 100 — now the fastest in Test history — he continued on his merry way. McCullum was finally dismissed for 145 off 79 deliveries with 21 fours and 6 sixes. Kane Williamson had faced 10 balls less and scored a total of 7 runs. READ: New Zealand must keep Brendon McCullum’s legacy alive

4. New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 2014-15, 1st Test at Christchurch, 195(134): At some point, there will be a meme (if there does not exist one already) that reads ‘Brendon McCullum and Christchurch…still a better love story than Twilight.’ Something about the ground incites glorious violence in McCullum, as proven by the fact that three of his five fastest international hundreds have been recorded in the city. READ: When Brendon McCullum paid perfect tribute to Phillip Hughes with dazzling double century against Pakistan

The third of these came at a time when McCullum was in a murderous vein of form. In his last innings, McCullum had scored 202 off 188 deliveries against Pakistan at Sharjah in one of the most relevant innings played that year; it came on the back of Phillip Hughes’ tragic demise, and shone of vitality amid insurmountable pain. McCullum followed that innings with a scintillating 195 off 134 balls against Sri Lanka. The innings had 18 fours and as many as 11 sixes. New Zealand won by 8 wickets in the end.

5. New Zealand vs Zimbabwe 2010-11, 3rd ODI at Napier, 119(88): The only ODI innings on this list came when Zimbabwe toured New Zealand in 2010-11. Coming in at a comfortable 154 for 2, McCullum went on to ravage Zimbabwe en route to an 88-ball 119 with 7 fours and 5 sixes. Curiously, he was trumped in strike rate by his brother Nathan, who hit 21 off 7 balls in the innings. New Zealand amassed 373 for 8 and won by 202 runs.

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek who loves cricket more than cricketers. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)