x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

McCullum's 225 rampage sets up a series decider

Brendon McCullum's career-best innings helps New Zealand earn a draw with India in the second Test to set up a series decider.

Brendon McCullum plays an unorthordox shot on his way to a double century.
Brendon McCullum plays an unorthordox shot on his way to a double century.

Brendon McCullum hit a career-best 225 to help New Zealand earn a draw with India in the second Test yesterday and set up a series decider.

McCullum unleashed 22 fours and four sixes during his nine-hour innings as the tourists declared at their tea score of 448 for eight on the final day in Hyderabad.

India were left an impossible target of 327 in one two-hour session, and the draw was agreed an hour ahead of the scheduled close with India on 68 without loss.

The first Test had also ended level, and now all eyes will be on the deciding third Test in Nagpur, which starts on Saturday.

It was McCullum who stole the show with his shot-making as New Zealand had started the day just 115 runs ahead with six wickets in hand, but the opener, restarting on 124, batted beautifully and was supported well by Kane Williamson, who hit a resolute 69.

McCullum said: "It was quite important for us to bat some time and score some runs or else we were in danger of losing the Test. When you are a stroke-maker you always want to find the right tempo. Sometimes you are guilty of being over aggressive."

India's spinners struggled on a wicket that showed no signs of deteriorating with Pragyan Ojha (2-137) and Harbhajan (1-117) picking up just three wickets between them.

"Our bowlers did as well as they could on a wicket like this," said MS Dhoni, the Indian captain. "The wicket offered no assistance to them so I won't blame my bowlers.

"Sometimes you try too hard to take wickets and spill runs. Also, their batsmen batted very well. They waited for the loose balls and left the good ones."