New Zealand in control after McCullum’s 302 (Lunch report)

Wellington, Feb 18: New Zealand are in firm control of the second and final Test after India were 10 for no loss at lunch while chasing a target of 435 on the fifth day at Basin Reserve here Tuesday.

The hosts posted their highest ever total of 680/8 declared as skipper Brendon McCullum became the first New Zealander to go past the 300-mark, scoring 302 runs.

McCullum became the top Test scorer for the Black Caps, surpassing legendary Martin Crowe’s 299 against Sri Lanka here in 1991 while New Zealand’s monumental total outscored their previous best of 671/4, also in the same Test.

Resuming the day at 571/6, McCullum patiently put on 19 more runs in the morning to complete his triple century while all-rounder Jimmy Neesham scored a century on debut, remaining unbeaten on 137.

The duo continued their good work from Day 4 and extended the seventh-wicket partnership to 179 runs before McCullum edged a Zaheer Khan delivery to India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to finally end his classic innings.

The stadium rose to applaud the wicketkeeper batsman’s effort as the Indian fielders walked up to shake his hands and congratulate him as the 32-year-old raised his bat before walking back into the pavilion. McCullum hit 32 boundaries and four sixes in his 559-ball innings.

Zaheer scalped Tim Southee (11) shortly after to take the 11th fifer of his career. Neesham put on 41 more runs with Neil Wagner (2 not out) before the duo were called back in to let their bowlers have a go at the Indian batsman.

Indian openers Murali Vijay (7 not out) and Shikhar Dhawan (2 not out) were given four overs to bat when lunch was called with the visitors at 10 for no loss.

IANS