New Zealand v India, 2nd Test, Wellington, 4th day February 17, 2014

NZ undecided on batting tomorrow, says McCullum


Brendon McCullum has said that New Zealand will decide overnight whether they will push for a 2-0 series win on the final day of the Wellington Test or settle for 1-0. McCullum was unbeaten on 281 as New Zealand ended the fourth day at 571 for 6, leading India by 325 runs. McCullum has an opportunity to become the first New Zealand batsman to score a triple century, but was unwilling to commit to the side batting on the final morning.

"Obviously we are 1-0 up in the series," McCullum said. "We have worked really hard to get back into this contest, so that is one decision we have to look at, whether we try and push on for a Test win or we look to consolidate the lead that we have got knowing how far out of the game we were.

"Those are the decisions we have to mull over tonight. The decisions were not in our court a couple of days ago. It is nice to be able to be in that luxury position to make those decisions, and to know that you have worked incredibly hard to get into that situation to give you that luxury of making those decisions.

"I cannot assure you on that (batting tomorrow) yet. Whatever we decide, we will make sure we give it a 100%."

BJ Watling, McCullum's partner in their record-breaking 352-run, sixth-wicket stand, suggested the side's decision to bat on the final day would depend on conditions on Tuesday morning.

"[It's] still a good pitch and I think it is pretty flat," Watling said. "Off the straight there is not too much turn out there and the bounce is pretty consistent. I think a couple might have stayed down, a couple might have jumped a little bit but nothing too extreme.

"We would definitely love to win the Test but we still think there is a job to be done in the first hour tomorrow morning and see where we are at. It's still a good batting track but I think if the conditions are right, our bowlers could come out there and swing it and try and put them under a bit of pressure and possibly try and win a Test match."

McCullum was pleased with the day New Zealand had, after they began effectively at 6 for 5 and added 319 runs for the sole loss of Watling. He said: "We set our game plans and our strategies, and you dream the dreams and you don't always live them. Today, BJ and myself were able to put ourselves in a very good position, and the way Jimmy Neesham came in and created that partnership. At the end of the day, we are incredibly pleased with where we are at."

McCullum was also happy with the way his partners, Watling and Neesham, went about their batting. Watling ground out a defiant hundred while Neesham stroked an unbeaten 67 to extend New Zealand's advantage.

"I am really pleased with BJ, as well. We know how much of a scrapper and how hard a worker he is," McCullum said. "He has got that real resilient streak about him. [It takes a] special kind of pluck to stand up and do what he did in this Test match, and bat as long as he did for us to able to create that partnership and pick up some accolades along the way as well. [I'm] delighted for BJ and also with Neesh for the way he started. It has been a good day for us."

When asked about his own physical condition, having batted more than 12 hours with a sore back and shoulder, McCullum admitted he was feeling exhausted, particularly in the final hour.

"I am a little bit tired actually, to be honest. The last hour was a bit of a daze," the New Zealand captain said. "I was just trying to get through and thankfully Neesh was playing some shots and ticking the scoreboard over. So thought I'd just hang in there. I guess I was trying to make sure you get through the day knowing you have earned the right, to get through the day after the pressure we have had to absorb. I am pretty tired at the moment. Body is a little bit sore, but when you are scoring runs, your body does not hurt so much."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on February 18, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    Well, now we know. McCullum delayed the declaration beyond all reason, although, at 10-2, it might just have worked. However, ultimately, we saw that even 10 overs more would have made no difference.

  • Prem on February 17, 2014, 23:54 GMT

    MCullum is a bad captain as shown by his record including against England and India in the Frist Test. One thing is sure he will take a poor decision.

  • Inam on February 17, 2014, 23:34 GMT

    from 94 for 5 and to give 550 Plus runs to batsman #6 to 11 will not you win any games, forget about pitch, juets get wickets, If NZ draw this game it is win for them they have batted almost two days to save this game. India should have won this game, the defensive field on 4th day was useless, you are down in series, one have to buy wickets, if they score too much so what, we should try to chase it, with defensive fields one is sending message of waiting to happen kind of attitude.

  • Dummy4 on February 17, 2014, 22:20 GMT

    Its a shame that country of 1 billion people cannot produce 4 fast bowlers. Ishant and Shami have never looked so spineless and docile bowling on a bouncy albeit flat track. Indian bowlers look toothless on flat tracks while Mitchell Johnson destroys batting lineups and causes collateral damage whenever he can :) Dennis Lillee and MRF pace academy should be questioned about its purpose and held accountable for the results.

  • Reg on February 17, 2014, 22:06 GMT

    This has to be a wind-up, please tell me it's a wind-up!!!!

  • Andy on February 17, 2014, 21:33 GMT

    India will not get past 325 in 90 overs with all the Kiwi fast bowlers. Indian batsman cannot be trusted for new balls - especially M Vijay who blames new ball for losing early wickets.

  • Madhu on February 17, 2014, 21:23 GMT

    @ Dan Parker - I completely agree with you, India still relying on Zaheer to deliver, its really shame that with plenty of riches, BCCI does little to encourage fast bowling in India. Its not that we dont have fast bowlers, we have Umesh Yadav and Varun Aron who can bowl consistently @ 150KM and couple of others in the fringes. But BCCI never plan their careers properly. On the contrary they groom and plan the batting careers with special talent. This is the Irony of India, With so many well equipped stadiums in India, BCCI should make half of them into seaming/Fast tracks...this would encourage the bowlers. I dont understand the logic of not giving chance to Umesh or Varon against the SA or NZ, they are pretty quick and any batsman in the world, no matter how big are not comfortable against quick bowling.

  • Geoff on February 17, 2014, 21:20 GMT

    There is another way of looking at this. Sometimes a good rule of thumb is to make the decision the opposing captain doesn't want you to make. I could make a good case for either here - but surely India, when the chips are down, would welcome a chance to go for it.

  • Dummy4 on February 17, 2014, 20:46 GMT

    NZ should bat 2 hours and score 120 runs more and then declare.It will be almost impossible to score those runs and if they tried to be brave who knows few wickets down and NZ can win a historic match.

  • Mark on February 17, 2014, 20:36 GMT

    @kiwipom How much damage has the New Zealand fightback done? Maybe, some of the fight has gone out of India. If they give India 80 overs you will find out; the new ball would be available if they bowl them reasonably quickly: 15 overs per hour should not be taxing to beat if they want to do it.

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