Sunday, November 30, 2014

McCullum has chance to blaze another trail

Brendan McCullum's success in overcoming all the exterior stress in leading his side to one of the more definite New Zealand Test cricket successes in Sharjah on Sunday may not be the end of his rewards this year.
It was New Zealand's 78th Test victory, and its eighth Test win over Pakistan.

Completing the fourth double century of his career en route to 202, McCullum moved closer in second place behind Stephen Fleming on the all-time New Zealand Test run scoring list with 5653 runs, 1519 runs behind while he also gained a share of the New Zealand second wicket partnership record  of 297 runs with Kane Williamson thus supplanting John Wright and Andrew Jones 241 against England in 1991-92.

However, McCullum broke one of the longer standing New Zealand batting records during his innings.

McCullum lifted his total of runs scoring in the calendar year to 969, the most by a New Zealander.

John R Reid lost the grip he had held on that statistic since 1965 when McCullum reached 872 runs, as he posted his 105th run during his innings.

That was a significant achievement and leaves McCullum with the chance, in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Christchurch starting on Boxing Day, to become the first New Zealander to achieve 1000 Test runs in a calendar year.

Reid's was a significant record to break given he played in an era of reduced Test match opportunities, and the occasion was helped in 1965 by New Zealand playing a home series against Pakistan before setting out to tour India, Pakistan and England, one of the busiest years in their Test history to that point.

However, the mark has been under an assault in recent times with Ross Taylor, who got within six runs of beating the record last year having four of the greatest annual accumulation of runs among the top seven occasions.

Martin Crowe also got close with 820 runs during his great year of 1985, part of which included New Zealand's innings victory over Australia in Brisbane.

It should be noted that Kane Williamson ended the Test on 844 runs and he too has the chance to finish the year not only passing Reid's mark, but also scoring 1000 runs.

McCullum's appetite for runs has been central to the team doing so well and finally starting its move up the ICC Test rankings while the support of Williamson and Taylor, and the emerging value of Tom Latham has given New Zealand the sort of batting stability that is vital to its continuing climb to Test match competitiveness.

To have completed such an outstanding victory in foreign conditions by out-spinning the home team speaks volumes for McCullum's side.

It should not be forgotten that it has long been an adage of the New Zealand game that if a bowler can take 10 wickets in a match, that is a significant step along the way to achieving a Test match victory.

Mark Craig's 10 for 203 was the 25th occasion a New Zealand bowler had taken 10 wickets, and he was the 15th bowler to achieve the feat.

Most runs by a New Zealander in a calendar year:

B McCullum 969 64.6 2014
J R Reid 871 36.39 1965
R Taylor 866 72.17 2013
M Crowe 820 51.25 1985
R Taylor 819 54.6 2012
R Taylor 818 38.95 2008
R Taylor 782 55.86 2009
B Sutcliffe 774 51.6 1954
N Astle 769 45.24 1999
B McCullum 758 75.8 2010
M Crowe 751 62.58 1987
S Fleming 737 46.06 2004
J Wright 705 78.33 1990
G Turner 676 96 1972
M Richardson 663 60.27 2001
B Congdon 641 27.87 1969
S Fleming 631 70.11 2003
S Thomson 631 39.44 1994
B Young 623 44.5 1997
M Crowe 598 46 1992
C McMillan 587 39.13 2000
K Rutherford 571 43.92 1993
S Fleming 570 47.5 2006
J Wright 566 40.43 1984
M Burgess 565 35.31 1976
G Howarth 560 56 1978
L Vincent 541 49.18 2005
A Jones 513 102.6 1991

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