New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum hit the fastest century in the history of Test cricket — off 54 balls — in his farewell international game as the Black Caps reached 273-6 at tea on Saturday’s opening day of the second Test against Australia.
McCullum hit a six and three fours from consecutive deliveries bowled by Josh Hazlewood to beat the previous record, shared by Viv Richards and Misbah-ul-Haq, by two balls.
When he reached the milestone after only 78 minutes at the crease, McCullum had hit 16 fours and four sixes, and New Zealand, which had been 32-3 when he came to the crease half an hour before lunch, was 175-4.
He was finally out, superbly caught at long leg by Nathan Lyon off the bowling of James Pattinson, for 145 compiled from only 79 balls with 21 fours and six sixes.
McCullum had been caught by Adam Voges off Pattinson’s bowling when he was 39, only to be reprieved by a no-ball call. Voges held a sensational diving catch at third slip and McCullum was heading for the pavilion when replays showed Pattinson had over-stepped.
Corey Anderson, who batted in McCullum’s shadow, still reached a brisk half-century from 39 balls and was out soon after McCullum for 73. At tea, BJ Watling was on 6 and Tim Southee on 5, after a ballistic second session that saw 199 runs scored at a rate of 8.9 runs per over.
The century partnership for the fifth wicket between McCullum and Anderson, from 57 balls, was also the fastest in test history, beating the stand for the 10th wicket between New Zealand’s Nathan Astle and Chris Cairns against England in 2002. The McCullum-Anderson partnership of 179 came at the rate of 9.76 runs per over
McCullum fittingly will leave international cricket with just the kind of brilliant and belligerent innings that typified his career.
New Zealand was in serious trouble after losing the toss and being sent in to bat on a moist, green wicket which provided extravagant seam movement. The Australian bowlers were fully in control, having dismissed Martin Guptill for 18, Tom Latham for 4 and Henry Nicholls for 7 in the first 90 minutes. Kane Williamson was out for 7 in the first over after lunch.
Runs had virtually dried up when McCullum began his innings but he soon changed that.
Hazlewood had allowed only 11 runs from his first 10 overs; he then conceded 57 from his next four and McCullum passed the record mark by hitting 6, 4, 4, 6 from four balls off Hazlewood in the 36th over to reach his century.