It was neither Eden Gardens nor VVS Laxman, and India at the receiving end, but Brendon McCullum’s match-saving and probably match-winning innings has had all those qualities that made the Indian great’s innings one of the most special in cricket history.
McCullum’s remarkable effort that has turned what seemed imminent defeat into a position from where they can bring some pressure on India on the final day, is likely to have a similar impact in New Zealand.
No Kiwi batsman has made a Test triple century. McCullum can achieve that feat if he surpasses Martin Crowe’s record innings, which ended at a heartbreaking 299 against Sri Lanka here in 1991.
The sheer effort of the innings that caps New Zealand’s excellent home season is the kind of inspiration his young side needs if they are to go on and become a side that can be consistent away from home.
Although the milestone was within touching distance, McCullum was still undecided on how to approach the final day. Piling on the runs for some more time was in his mind but being the skipper, he would also hope the effort ends in victory.
India have been his favourite opponents. All three of his double tons have come against them, including the 224 in the Auckland Test. On Monday, he was exhausted by his marathon knock and admitted he somehow fought fatigue to remain unbeaten at stumps: “We set our game plans and strategies; you dream your dreams and you don’t always live them.”