New Zealand v India, 1st Test, Auckland, 2nd day February 7, 2014

McCullum praises Williamson's temperament


'My best innings if we win' - McCullum

Brendon McCullum has said his 224 at Eden Park will be his best innings if New Zealand beat India in the first Test. He also credited Kane Williamson for his temperament during their double-century partnership on day one, and said that his younger colleague's knowledge and approach had helped him bat for so long.

"Definitely (it will be my best) if we win the game. Pleased to have contributed in a significant way, which was by building partnerships," McCullum said after the second day's play. "We managed to keep creating partnerships after a tough start so that is very satisfying, especially after we lost wickets. To get 500 after being put into bat, after we were 30 for 3, is a great effort. Team has got a little bit of fight in them in tough situations."

McCullum and Williamson led that fight, adding 221 at over four an over. After Williamson was caught down the leg side for 113, McCullum carried on and added another 133 with Corey Anderson, before the allrounder got a rough decision on 77. McCullum marched on, and took the score past 500, a total he felt New Zealand had no hope of reaching given the dire situation he came into.

"We thought we would get 200-odd," McCullum said. "Was thinking about small targets, being competitive when you are 30 for 3, but when we started going obviously targets changed for us. Never did I think that after 30 for 3, and in those conditions that we would get 500 and that's a fine achievement for this batting group. We have the bowlers to take 20 wickets provided we give them enough runs and I think we have given them enough runs."

Dwelling on Williamson's role in the fightback, McCullum said his partner made him realise the magnitude of their task extended beyond making it to their respective hundreds. "He has got a really good mindset and he said 100 is just a number. Our job at that time was not to get too carried away, it was to keep batting and get good runs on the board. Was nice to tick off the milestone, nice to get a hundred at home, but still had a job to do.

"Credit to Kane for his temperament and also his batting knowledge that he passed on to me that I have got a job to do. Was hard to rein myself in at times but batting with Kane was outstanding. He has a great temperament, a great amount of maturity and is experienced as well. Disappointed that he got out, his approach was right and rubbed off on me."

It was an important innings personally for McCullum as well. New Zealand had taken the one-dayers against India 4-0 but that was mostly due to the batting of Williamson and Ross Taylor. While McCullum did get some quick, late runs, he also had two successive ducks, and admitted it became difficult as captain when the runs were not coming.

"Harder to lead when you are not scoring runs. That's when your fighting qualities and as a leader come out, as you still have a job to do as captain," he said. "If you aren't scoring runs then that's the important time to stand up as a leader, that's what I have realised recently. And still enjoy other people's success as well ... just keep faith, keep heart and desire."

McCullum reached the double-century with a six and a four in the last over before lunch, and had also reached the hundred on day one with a six. He said he did not want to spend too much time in the nineties, having fallen there a few times before.

The No 5 position was the ideal one for him, McCullum said. "Batting at number five is suitable for me with the ball not quite so new. Bat after Kane and Taylor and then with strokemakers later on, BJ (Watling) and Corey. Five is a good place to bat for me."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • D on February 7, 2014, 23:23 GMT

    When a hundred gets scored I like to ask, is that hundred really a true hundred and my baseline is that it isn't unless it's more runs than the entire team of the opposition got, seen they are batting on the same ground on the same pitch?

    Things is not being disrespectful, but is just a comparison of the great individual innings by past greats... and seen that never happens at grounds that are so batting friendly, with true bounce and no swing, that are too large they make batting a breeze and a nightmare for a fielding captain to defend like the 'G', I disregard those hundreds. They just "don't compare".

    I also sometimes wonder how "mussles" a shellfish, help people score 6's. Spinach maybe, but mussels?

  • D on February 7, 2014, 22:40 GMT

    @22many When a hundred is scored by a NZder I always ask myself, how many morons who didn't even watch the match will try to downplay it. The answer is many more runs than usually get scored at the 'G'. Seen hardly any 6's were hit and all of them were nowhere near a fielder, none of them would have been caught by anyone at the "g" or anyone else. Seen to be caught someone needs to be there to do the cacthing. The MCG is very big, with huge gaps, so the shots played by the NZders would have been even further away from catchers, seen the poor Indian fielders would have more space to try to defend and thus probably would have scored far 2's, and 3's though maybe 2 of Southee's sixes wouldn't have been scored. Also, I should ask are 100's scored in Oz were the bitches have nice and true bounce and there's next no swing or spin are they worth as much when scored in country's like NZ, ENG and SA were pitches are more bowler friendly?

  • henry on February 7, 2014, 20:00 GMT

    @22many ---fair comment but to be a great ,you must be able to bat and score at all grounds around the world. That is why cricket is such a great game and where the "average" comes into play although I must say , watching yesterday from afar, the ground does look very small, and very empty. Does no one want to watch a good NZ team destroy what looks to be a very average performing Indian side?... but is anyone surprised India are average when touring.

  • Sateesh on February 7, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    @22 Many,

    I am bamboozled by the lack of respect afforded to NZ's displays in the series. Eden Park might not be a large as the MCG, but to make 200 on a drop-in wicket, that was particularly green to begin with is no easy feat. If you wish to discredit batting scores on particular wickets, you may wish to look at some of scores on sub-continent wickets where totals of 700+ are commonplace. NZ wickets are notoriously difficult and make up for the relative boundary sizes. The beauty of cricket above any other game is the range of conditions that can influence a game - weather, pitch, ground size, ball condition ...

  • paul on February 7, 2014, 17:46 GMT

    When a hundred gets scored in NZ I always ask would that hundred have been scored at the "G"......that is my base line.

    This is not being disrespectful but is just a comparison against the past greats at a proper ground....not a postage stamp ground where anyone with a bit of mussel can clear the rope....At the likes of say the "G", if you score a double ton there I wouldn't imagine to many would fly over the rope from top edges or mistimed shots... My question is...scoring 200 at Eden Park and scoring a double ton at the they compare.....not in my mind.....many shots played yesterday would have fallen into the hands of waiting fielders at the likes of the "G" instead of just dropping over the rope 55 yards from the bat for six....

  • dave on February 7, 2014, 15:37 GMT

    Kane is the glue that binds NZ batting together. At 23 he appears to be the most mature batsmen in the lineup and his long expected success is built on hard work. Its no coincidence that all the crucial partnerships have had Kane at one end. Taylor and Mc Cullum seem to learning from the younger man about how to go about building of an innings every time, not just once a season. Now Ryder should take note and Guptil should learn how to get an innings started smartly.

  • rohit on February 7, 2014, 15:23 GMT

    With Guptill and Latham at top, this looks a pretty formidable line up. The rankings should be on an upward.

  • Nero on February 7, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    In Assam, one of states in india the reason of something wrong is popularly called 'KENA '. And in the whole odi and test series Kane williamson is the main problem for india. So, he is 'Kena Williamson' for india than Kane.

  • vishwas on February 7, 2014, 11:16 GMT

    i am startig to like this guy.... this guy has class... great prospect for KIWIS.... ATB

  • Matt on February 7, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    @gimme-a-greentop: He didn't have a smooth ride after his debut 100, he was batting at 5 and the team was far from settled, only in recent times are we seeing his potential and the team start to gel. There was a lot of talk about him as the next Crowe and it just wasn't happening for him early in his career, the odd good knock, but now he seems to have got those low scores out of his game, his averages will surely rise.

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