New Zealand made a superb start to the first Test against India at Eden Park, Auckland, with a Brendon McCullum century, leading them to 329 for four wickets at the close of Day 1.
The captain, who had not quite delivered with the bat in the team's 4-0 demolition of their hosts in the One Day International series, finished unbeaten on 143 at stumps as New Zealand made light of having been put in to bat first under overcast skies.
Brendon McCullum's 143* is most runs by a #5 on 1st day of a Test vs India Prev best: 141* by Mike Gatting (183*) at Birmingham 1986 #NZvInd— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) February 6, 2014
Kane Williamson also made a century; his 113 another excellent knock that, together with his captain, transformed the day for the Black Caps.
The new ball and the dark skies offered a bit of movement and nip early on, and with Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford and Ross Taylor all falling cheaply, New Zealand looked in trouble at 30-3.
|New Zealand 1st Innings|
|Fulton||lbw||b Zaheer Khan||13||54||35|
|Rutherford||c Rahane||b I Sharma||6||42||30|
|Williamson||c Dhoni||b Zaheer Khan||113||249||172|
|Taylor||c Jadeja||b I Sharma||3||22||15|
|B McCullum||not out||143||304||210|
|Extras||0nb 3w 1b 5lb||9|
|Total||for 4||329||(90.0 ovs)|
The day was defined by McCullum and Williamson's stirring combination—they added 221 in 51 overs together, and given the pressure India's bowlers had applied in the morning session, it was something few watching on could have predicted.
India's menace ebbed away accordingly, though they were left to rue a drop from Murali Vijay at first slip that could have accounted for Williamson when he was only on 32.
As it was, when Williamson finally did depart, strangled down the leg-side by Zaheer Khan, Corey Anderson was able to provide McCullum with valuable assistance.
He started slowly and nervously, but by stumps, he was 42 not out, having taken a shine to the second new ball late in the day.
If the pair of them can reprise their partnership on Day 2 and New Zealand's long tail wags again, the first innings total could be a match-defining one.