Saturday, February 20, 2016

Fantastico McCullum Slams the Fastest Test 100 in his Final Test!!

Some men write their own destiny, end their careers on a high. Not many sportsmen can time it perfectly and almost every great hero lives just long enough to become a villain. Bradman needed just four in his last test innings to finish with a test average of 100, he made a duck. Javed Miandad and Aravinda De Silva, arguably the finest batsman their countries had produced, played their last matches in the World Cup in 1996 and 2003 respectively, both ending on the losing side and going out in anonymity.

This was Brendon McCullum's last match, his 101st and he walked in to bat with New Zealand in huge trouble at 32-3 in the 20th over. His successor, and master batsman, Kane Williamson was struggling to even properly lay bat on ball on a green pitch - he was on 3 off 44 balls when Baz walked out to a guard of honour given by the Aussie's.

McCullum heaved wildly off his first ball and missed and on the second attempt the ball flew over the slips for a fortunate boundary. This looked like it would end very quickly. When Smith called upon Marsh just minutes before the lunch break, McCullum launched a vicious attack on the bowler. A straight six, cuts, cover drives and to round off another gob smacking six over wide extra cover to take 21 off the over! Easy-Peasy!!

He slashed at a wide Pattinson delivery and Marsh flung himself to take a stunner but Pattinson had overstepped, Baz reprieved on 39. That was probably the break that he needed and the mood that he was in, his shots only got bolder and more outrageous! He brought up his fifty off 34 balls with a heave down the ground that flew over Bird's head for a straight six. McCullum was by now an almost unstoppable force, playing a high impact innings in his last test.

He kept swinging his willow like a madman but kept evading the fielder's. He brought up his 100 of just 54 balls, the fastest ever, with a four over extra cover and raised his bat to a standing ovation from the crowd at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch. He beat the record set by the enigmatic Viv Richards in 1985-86 against England off 56 balls and which was then equalled by Misbah ul Haq against the Australian's in 2014.

He eventually finished on 145 off just 79 balls and his 179 run partnership with Corey Anderson waltzed New Zealand to 370 in just 65 overs on a green top where the ball swung extravagantly but a determined batsman in his last test swung his willow more decisively in the end.

His cavalier approach and thrill-a-minute style will be sorely missed and one can only wonder why he did not choose to play the upcoming World T20! Captain Fantastico and a batsman who lived by the sword and died by it, Baz, you will be sorely missed!!

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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