Nice to play with that sort of freedom - McCullum
Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand batsman, has said he was trying to place Australia A's bowlers, who were aspiring for a place in the national XI, under pressure during his whirlwind innings of 146 on day one of the tour match in Brisbane.
Thanks largely to McCullum, the tourists enjoyed a fruitful first day's cricket in Australia, while setting back the claims of some of the fast men competing for a place in the home XI for the first Test at the Gabba.
"If you get decks as good as that one, it'd be nice to play with that sort of freedom," McCullum said. "It was quite a good attack as well, so it was nice to get away to quite a decent, positive start early on and try to put them under some pressure too."
McCullum reckoned the Australian bowlers were a tad too short on an even-tempered pitch, reducing their chances of claiming wickets. He singled out James Pattinson, followed by Ben Cutting, as the most effective.
"We'll find out a bit more about them over the next couple of days as well, but I thought they, if anything, bowled a touch short at the start. Once they pitched their lengths up a bit, they were a lot more dangerous," McCullum said. "[Kane] Williamson's wicket was probably the perfect length to bowl on that sort of pitch, but maybe it was because it was getting some nice carry as well. But a few of them looked a little bit short from their lengths. Pattinson was the pick of them, to be honest. Cutting [was] not too far away."
Overall McCullum said his team was happy with the way the tour had started, and he did not conceal the tourists' lofty ambitions for the two Tests. "We've got some pretty big aspirations but there's a lot of cricket to be played," McCullum said. "We started afresh today, on an even keel with the Aussie A team and it was a matter of trusting our own games, making sure we play as well as we can, and seeing what that does with them.
"We managed to put them under a degree of pressure today and we're probably just up on points as well. Australia is still dangerous. They're not the team that had five of the greatest players of all time in it, though, so they probably come back to the pack a little bit, but are still a dangerous team. We completely respect that and know if we've any chance of pulling this off then we have to play exceptionally well over the 10 days of cricket we've got."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo