New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum salutes the Basin Reserve crowd at Wellington after completing his triple hundred, the first by a New Zealand batsman, against India on the fifth and final day of the second Test yesterday. Photo: AFP
Brendon McCullum said he would remember the spine-tingling standing ovation for the rest of his life after he hit New Zealand's first triple century to secure the Test series win against India.
The captain, carrying back and shoulder injuries, batted for nearly 13 hours for his 302 which united the country in praise and put him in the company of legends Don Bradman and Wally Hammond.
Wellington's Basin Reserve erupted as McCullum cut Zaheer Khan for four to bring up the triple century, and the applause resumed just two balls later when he was out caught behind.
McCullum admitted to jangling nerves towards the end of his record knock which straddled three days' play and guaranteed a draw in the second Test, and a 1-0 series win for New Zealand.
"I wasn't too bad till I saw the size of the crowd then every ball that I defended, left or got a single they would start cheering and it made me a little bit more nervous," he said.
"That's probably when I understood the magnitude of the task at hand and the immense joy it gives fans of this cricket team to see guys succeed and see records broken.
"It was a moment when 300 came up and the applause was ongoing for quite a while. That's really when it hit home to me that it was quite a significant achievement for a New Zealander and I'll certainly remember them for the rest of my life."
McCullum's 302 surpassed Martin Crowe's 299 -- compiled at the same ground in 1991 -- to become the highest score by a New Zealander in 391 Tests since 1930.
After his 224 in the first-Test win, it made him just the third man after Australia's Bradman, and England's Hammond in the 1930s, to score double and triple tons in consecutive Tests.
"I'm very respectful of all the guys I managed to get past today, Martin Crowe in particular who's held the record for over 20 years," said McCullum.
"I almost feel a little embarrassed to go past someone of that calibre, and Stephen Fleming and all the other names as well.
"It's incredibly humbling to put your name up there and score the first triple century for New Zealand."