Cricket: McCullum hammers fastest ton in history, displacing his own idol, Viv Richards

Brendon McCullum lifts his bat and helmet to the fans as he walks from the field on Feb 20, 2016.
Brendon McCullum lifts his bat and helmet to the fans as he walks from the field on Feb 20, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

Reuters - New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum broke the world record for the fastest Test century held jointly by his idol Viv Richards on Saturday without ever being aware he was about to make cricket history.

McCullum, 34, playing his 101st and final Test, struck the ball with brutal brilliance to reach his 12th century from only 54 deliveries on the opening day of the second Test against Australia at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

West Indian Richards set the previous record of 56 balls against England in Antigua in 1986 and the mark was then equalled by Pakistan's Misbah-ul-Haq against Australia in Abu Dhabi in 2014.

"I had no idea," McCullum said after scoring 145 in New Zealand's 370 all out after they had been reduced to 32-3 in the 20th over on a lively pitch.

"I was trying to hit every ball for four or six. Viv was my idol growing up so it's nice to be able to go past him on this occasion.

"But he was a cracking player, he was an incredible cricketer. I'm almost a little bit of embarrassed to go past him, to be honest."

McCullum said he knew it was probably going to be his day when he had an "almighty filthy slog" at his second ball which flew over the slips cordon for four.

After scoring 39, he then enjoyed a huge slice of luck when he sliced James Pattinson to Mitchell Marsh who took a brilliant, one-handed catch diving to his right in the gully.

Umpire Richard Kettleborough requested a replay which showed Pattinson had bowled a no-ball.

"I thought it was four as soon as I hit it," McCullum said. "They do push the front line a little bit. It was quite a nice reprieve. It probably loosens you up a little bit as well, it just relaxes you a little bit more.

"You know you're probably not meant to be out there. You may as well play with a little more freedom."

McCullum, was greeted by a guard of honour by the Australians when he went out to bat with his team already in deep trouble but needing to win to square the two-Test series.