Cricket: McCullum smashes quickest Test ton

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum saluting fans after being dismissed for 145 in the second Test against Australia in Christchurch yesterday.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum saluting fans after being dismissed for 145 in the second Test against Australia in Christchurch yesterday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

CHRISTCHURCH • Brendon McCullum belted the fastest century the cricket world has seen yesterday, as he thrashed the Australian bowling in a landmark innings to celebrate his final Test.

At the end of his explosive innings of 145, the popular New Zealand captain said he felt a mixture of pride in what he had achieved and embarrassment at breaking a record set by his childhood hero Vivian Richards.

With a stream of sixes and fours, McCullum brought up his 100 in just 54 deliveries, two fewer than the previous record achieved by West Indies great Richards against England in Antigua in 1986 and Pakistan's Misbah-ul-Haq against Australia in Abu Dhabi in 2014.

With New Zealand fighting to save the series after losing the first Test, McCullum's aggression anchored his side's first innings of 370 and Australia were 57-1 at the end of the first day.

When the 34-year-old, who is playing his 101st Test, charged down the wicket and sliced Josh Hazlewood for four to bring up his century, he had no idea it was a record performance.

"He (Richards) was my idol growing up. I'm almost embarrassed to go past him to be honest, but hopefully he enjoyed a little bit of the stroke-making," said McCullum.

There were 21 fours and four sixes in his innings - with the first six setting a world record for Test sixes, overtaking Australian Adam Gilchrist, who hit 100.

"It was pretty amazing striking," said Australian spinner Nathan Lyon. "He's been a credit to the game of cricket."

There was one element of luck in McCullum's audacious display when he was on 39 and Mitchell Marsh pulled off a spectacular catch, only for the wicket to be disallowed because the James Pattinson delivery was ruled a no ball.

McCullum said that let-off inspired him to attack the bowling even harder. "You're probably not meant to be out, so you play with a little bit more freedom," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 21, 2016, with the headline 'McCullum smashes quickest Test ton'. Print Edition | Subscribe