New Zealand v India, 2nd Test, Wellington, 5th day February 18, 2014

India hang on for a draw after McCullum triple


New Zealand 192 (Ishant 6-51, Shami 4-70) and 680 for 8 decl. (McCullum 302, Neesham 137*, Watling 124, Zaheer 5-170) drew with India 438 (Rahane 118, Dhawan 98, Dhoni 68, Southee 3-93) and 166 for 3 (Kohli 105*, Southee 2-50)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Brendon McCullum brought the whole of New Zealand to its feet in becoming the first New Zealander to 300 runs, New Zealand then possibly indulged for about half an hour after having fought hard for close to two days, following which Virat Kohli scored a century to make sure India didn't lose the Test they would have thought they had won two days ago. New Zealand won the series 1-0, and India ended their second successive tour without a win.

Given 67 overs to survive, India were in strife and would have lost their third wicket in the 13th over had Kohli walked or even shown signs of guilt after edging one through to BJ Watling, but he showed those niceties were not for him when there was a Test to be saved.

For about 46 minutes in the morning, the New Zealand economy came down to a standstill, the GDP took a beating and Basin Reserve cheered every single on as McCullum became the first New Zealander in 84 years of their Test cricket to register a triple-century. What made it sweeter was that he had come out in the first session of day three with an innings defeat and a squandered series lead imminent. By the fifth morning, though, the match had been saved, McCullum was 281, and it was time for a little indulgence, a phase of play where he would bask in the applause.

Before McCullum could get there, though, his partner Jimmy Neesham became only the seventh man to score a century on debut from No. 8. He had played a vital part previous evening in keeping McCullum together as his body and his concentration threatened to disintegrate after close to five sessions of intense grind. Neesham took all the pressure off by taking a majority of strike and the responsibility of run-getting.

Neesham began the day on 67, and continued to bat in a carefree manner. His driving into the leg side remained a feature of his batting, and he was no slouch when India pitched up too far outside off. His pace on the fifth morning again allowed McCullum to stay in the background, but McCullum went from 284 to 288, 289 to 293, and from 293 to 297 in boundaries. The anticipation arose as much with each of those shots as it did with good defensive ones. When, on 293, he edged one that fell short, the Basin heaved.

Off the second ball of the 199th over, McCullum took the single to go to 298, but that gave Neesham four balls to beat him to his landmark. Neesham was 94. And he pulled the third ball, and managed to lob the deep square leg who had completely misjudged this. Off the next ball, McCullum ran as hard as Neesham; the hundred was now done.

When McCullum steered the first ball of the next over between slips and gully, the triple had been achieved. Father Stu McCullum was in attendance, seemingly the whole of Wellington too, there was not a bum on seat, and the applause continued for about four minutes. It was an emotional moment, and McCullum could face only two balls as the only New Zealand triple-centurion. When he did edge Zaheer Khan, he didn't take Neesham along with him. Had he done so, they would have set India 380 in 77 overs.

Instead they batted on for 10 more overs to add 55 more runs, refusing to dangle a carrot. Perhaps all the hard work over the last two days was too much to ask to be risked, especially when they led in the series. Be it at it may, the extra time allowed Neesham enough time to register the highest score for a No. 8 debutant and to take New Zealand to their highest total ever.

India played out the four overs before lunch all right, but in the first two overs after the interval, Trent Boult and Tim Southee got the openers. Shikhar Dhawan fell padding up to a ball that would have clearly bounced over the stumps. Steve Davis went the other way soon as he let Kohli off when it could have become 31 for 3 with 55 overs to go. Dhawan would have sat inside the dressing room wondering where the generosity had disappeared when he padded up. Kohli was great at his play-acting, not looking behind, giving away no signs of anxiety, and scratching his guard again as he awaited a decision.

Southee created some excitement in the second hour of the middle session. He got Cheteshwar Pujara with hostile short-pitched bowling, making it difficult for the batsman to get his glove out of the way as he attacked the ribs. He produced two more opportunities before tea, but the wind carried a top-edged hook from Kolhi over long leg, and he himself dropped a return chance from Rohit Sharma eight minutes before tea.

As far as similarities with the great Kolkata Test go, this Test was following the script: India took seven wickets in that final session. Here, though, Kohli was the difference. He ended the New Zealand summer with a glorious session of sparkling shots all around the wicket, giving New Zealand no sniff. With an on-drive in the 49th over, Kohli became the 16th India batsman with three or more centuries outside Asia and Zimbabwe, and also made sure hands would be shaken at the end of the 52nd over, the earliest the teams could have agreed to a draw.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • private1 on February 19, 2014, 22:52 GMT

    fguy : Your comments do wreak of sour grapes and I must say Indian fans really have a brilliant way of selectively mixing and matching figures and formats . To round things off you have thrown in insinuations of match fixing. All of this simply because India lost. You and others like GRVJPR & GrinDAR simply cannot give credit to the opposition for playing good cricket, what is the matter with you?.

    GRVJPR & GrinDAR : Reading your comments leads me to the conclusion you should become Scifi writers because all your submissions are great works of fiction.You clearly see things that others don`t.

  • Friend on February 19, 2014, 21:25 GMT

    Lot of comments here on how come India is ranked #2. Well, let me tell you the reason. We are ranked #2 because we played better than every other team bar one in the last 2 years or so. Who else do you think deserves #2? Australia may be on a winning run now but just months back they lost to England and were thrashed mercilessly by India. England have been abysmal for a long time drawing a series against New Zealand and getting annihilated 0-5 by Oz. Every other team is only winning at home while losing in heaps away. The other teams are not worth mentioning as they have not won anything worthwhile of late. India have been consistent despite going through a transition phase. We bury teams in India while we don't lose badly away like the other teams. In fact, we have reached winning positions in all 4 of our last away tests only to be deprived of a win due to umpiring errors and/or luck. All this with a young, inexperienced team. Mark my words, India will reach the summit in one year.

  • t on February 19, 2014, 19:14 GMT

    alot of people advising others to "lose graciously". go thru the comments of your own countrymen & see how gracious they are in victory.. yes, there have been a few ungracious comments from us but the vast majority have complimented nz. there has been no reciprocity in grace shown to us though with almost all comments being the equivalent of laughing in our face. if we are sore losers then they are gloating winners who rub it in the face of the opponents. calling india "pathetic" etc.. they forget that they won the series effectively by 40 runs & forgetting their teams even worse performance in India. atleast we won the series in '09. remind me when nz won a series in india, ever?

    also, they keep bringing up the 4 million vs 1.2 billion argument. well, if population is the index then bcci have been too lenient. they should take 90+% of icc revenues & nz should really only get 0.01% since that will be more than enough for their population

  • Wasantha on February 19, 2014, 18:28 GMT

    It seems that Kholi decided to ignore that he was actually caught behind and continued to bat. Its sad that the gentlemen's game has hit the rock bottom in the face of competition. Brian Lara would have walked away under any circumstances if he felt he was out . He had walked away a few times when he was actually not out. That for me is a dying feature today. Money, greed and false values have buried true sportsmanship. Up to the time he decided to continue to bat having edged on fifth day of the match, I liked Kholi's aggressiveness and positive approach and but any more.

    We need to see aggressive, positive, competitive cricket all the time. That does not necessarily mean that you win by hook or crook. I cant imagine a player enjoying a hundred having actually dismissed before he scored the century. I think cricket was a gentlemen's game in India before the IPL started. Not any more. Resurrection is remote possibility. Well played NZ. Wasantha Pamunuwa

  • Dummy4 on February 19, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    New zealand was a better team and they deserve to win the series.

    The main reason for India's poor performance is our poor bowling attack.BCCI should focus on producing quality fast and spin bowlers.with the resources at its command, it can definitely unearth and train bowlers. But sadly, it focuses only on the commercial aspects of raising more money.with the result, the cricket fans of the country becuase of whom so much revenue is generated is short changed and are often disappointed with the performance of the team. Dhoni gives the impression that he is not interested in test cricket, probably because of the lack of talent at his disposal and he is also biased in team selection. If Pujara had played in the ODIs, he would have got exposure to Newzealand conditions and would have performed better in the tests. Rohit is a flat track bully and he scored only in 2 innings out of the 16 inings he played in SA and New Zealand including ODIS.,Rrahane is a solid batsman.

  • Dummy4 on February 19, 2014, 14:12 GMT

    Well. The series is over. We can refer the test series as dropped catches series. Both teams had the chances to win the series by 2/0. But dropped catches costs both the teams infact it ended in favour NZ. After the series if we analises our young performances, I think both SA as well as well as NZ tour were a big experience for all our youngsters especially for batsmen. Since their debue after NZ series our youngsters are placed as follows - Rahane 5 matches, 379 runs with avg of 47.30, 1 hundread and 2 fifties. Dhavan 7-534-48.54-2-1. Vijay 22-1304-35.24-3-4. Pujara 19-1650-58.92-6-4. Kohli 24-1724-46.51-6-9. Rohit 6-454-53.54-2-1. Vijay, Kohli & Pujara has played over 20 tests matches and Rohit, Shikhar & Rahane just started. Only Pujara and Rohit has test avg over 50 and rest over 40. Definately its a promising performances against worlds best bowling attack. The little worry for India is bowling department. But I am sure Sandip Patil & co will think positively about it. ATB India

  • Hugh on February 19, 2014, 9:49 GMT

    Good call in regards to Baz's triple ton, alesana85

  • Shane on February 19, 2014, 9:41 GMT

    @tests_the_best - why are you and so many of your fellow fans struggling so much to admit this was a brilliant innings? The whole cricketing world is currently lauding McCullum, and NZ in general, for what was one of the greatest fightbacks in test history - and all Indian fans can do is try to downplay it. The world is right, you are wrong.

  • Dummy4 on February 19, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    @ Known Strangerr You are confusing issues here. MSD's captaincy/Srini's selections are surely harming Indian cricket who have rarely been this pathetic abroad. But do ask yourself honestly: If this was the scoreline after a test in India would the pitch not be called a flat track???? I have no issues with pitches but I do want to point that every once in a while, every country get a pitch that aids a draw. Just dont label India as the only place where this happens. Its not like only India struggled, even NZ struggled to bowl us out.

  • Cricinfo on February 19, 2014, 4:12 GMT

    Congrats NZ on series win but without taking anything away from McCullum, does any batsman these days even feel special when they score against India in their home grounds? Recently AB DeVilliers scored a 91 against a fiery Mitch & co which I have much higher regard for than his century in the 200+ stand he had with Faf against India at J'burg.

    I have high regard though for a batsman scoring well against India in India. I rate Kevin Pietersen's knock of 186 in Mumbai when they were 0-1 down on Eng's last tour to India as one of the best innings played by an overseas player in India. But Clarke's 329 not out at the SCG, Cook's 294 at Edgbaston & McCullum's triple century hardly makes me appreciate their batting efforts coming as they did against a very mediocre bowling attack (BM's effort though is more creditable as it came from 94/5). I hope more people appreciate this fact before heaping praise on what was essentially piling numbers against one of the weakest attacks going around.