McCullum (114*) scored his ninth Test hundred and put on an unbeaten partnership of 158 run with BJ Watling (52*) for the sixth wicket which propelled the hosts to 5/252 at the close of play. The duo broke the record of New Zealand’s highest sixth-wicket partnership against India, taking over from Chris Cairns and Craig McMillan, who scored 137 on this very ground in 1998.
It was the 32-year-old’s third century in last five Tests matches. This brilliant knock follows a solid 224 which set up victory for Kiwis at Auckland in the first Test match last week.
New Zealad now lead India by six runs with five wickets in hand and with two days to play on a Basin Reserve pitch that has increasingly become batsmen’s paradise India still hold a distinct advantage over the hosts.
However, if the duo can keep the jaded visitors in the field for another couple of sessions on Monday, then Kiwis have an outside chance of winning a Test in which they were outplayed from the very first session itself.
It was a brilliant display of batsmanship from McCullum, who seem intent on keeping New Zealand’s 1-0 series lead intact, dropped the anchor in an innings which goes against his aggressive nature. This can be seen from the fact that he has faced 237 balls and hit just 14 fours and a six.
During his stay at the crease for almost six hours McCullum became fourth New Zealande player to amass 5000 Test runs. The other three who have achieved this feat are Stephen Fleming (7172), Martin Crowe (5444) and John Wright (5334).
On the other hand, wicket-keeper Watling, who played second fiddle to his skipper in the rearguard, compiled a gritty half-century with just four boundaries in a 208-ball to frustrate Indian bowlers.
BJ Watling, who was horribly out of form in this series, had scored just 12 runs in his previous three innings.