The New Zealand skipper is making a habit of leading by example in this series, and he did it once again when he notched up his third Test double hundred against India on Day 4 of the second Test in Wellington on Monday. (Highlights)
Unbeaten overnight on 114, McCullum upped his scoring rate in the first session as he unleashed a flurry of boundaries on the Indian bowlers after weathering the first half-hour of play at the Basin Reserve. However, he was cautious to keep the good deliveries away and avoided unnecessary risks. McCullum, who reached his century on Day 3 with a six off Ishant Sharma, reached his 200 with a firm flick of the pads off Zaheer Khan in the second session. He reached the landmark in 395 balls with the help of 24 fours and one six. This was his third score of two hundred or more in Tests, all of which have come against India. (Scorecard)
McCullum found a reliable partner in BJ Watling who was willing to stick it out in the middle. His partnership with Watling is already the best stand by any Kiwi pair against India in Tests. His knock was not a chance-less innings though. McCullum was dropped twice as Virat Kohli failed to hold on to a sitter and Ishant Sharma was unable to take a sharp return catch. But the Kiwi captain made the most of this opportunity to get a big score which was what his team needed after staring at a first innings deficit of 246. (Day 4 report)
In the course of this innings, he also completed 5000 Test runs, becoming only the 4th New Zealander to do so behind Stephen Fleming (7172 runs), Martin Crowe (5444) and John Wright (5334).
McCullum had batted for 473 minutes by lunch in the second-longest innings of his career. He batted 543 minutes for his 225 against India at Hyderabad in Nov. 2010 and 462 minutes for 224 in the first innings of the first Test of the current series.
New Zealand won the first Test at Eden Park by 40 runs to lead the two-match series 1-0 and was facing a defeat that would have squared the series when McCullum and Watling came together on the third day.
McCullum came in to bat when the hosts were staring down the barrel at 3 for 52. He had to drop anchor at the start of innings and curb his natural aggressive style of batting, in contrast to his 304-ball enterprising 224 at Eden Park.
McCullum said he believed he needed to repeat his double-century performance in the first Test victory if the hosts were to avoid a series-levelling defeat. Only one New Zealander previously, Glenn Turner, in the West Indies in 1972, has scored two double centuries in the same series.
McCullum's 281 keeps him on course to become the first Kiwi to score a double ton.