Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Dad hoping to see son's triple century

Stu McCullum watches as his son Brendon fustrates India on day four of the test in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Stu McCullum watches as his son Brendon fustrates India on day four of the test in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell

A stroke of luck meant Brendon McCullum's father Stu was able to watch his son tear pages out of the record books against India.

McCullum Snr had watched the first three days' play at the Basin Reserve but was due to fly home to Christchurch at 2.30pm yesterday.

After taking in the morning session, he left for Wellington Airport but found out at the terminal he had mistakenly booked his flight for next month, so he returned to the Basin to watch the rest of the action.

He couldn't have predicted his son would finish the day unbeaten on 281 as the Black Caps skipper sparked an epic rearguard effort as New Zealand finished day four on 571-6, with a lead of 325 heading into the final day.

"I was very hopeful," Stu said. "I saw Brendon this morning and I was very hopeful he'd obviously get as many as he could and, well, as a team, that we would put something together so hopefully we had a chance."

McCullum's marathon 352-run partnership with BJ Watling (124) was the highest stand for the sixth-wicket in test cricket history as the pair hauled New Zealand out of a dire situation.

Unfortunately, it seems unlikely Stu McCullum will be there in person today to watch his son attempt to break Martin Crowe's long-standing record for the highest test score by a New Zealander of 299.

Stu McCullum watches as his son Brendon fustrates India on day four of the test in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Stu McCullum watches as his son Brendon fustrates India on day four of the test in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell

He rebooked his flight home before the start of play this morning. He was returning to the South Island for work, although he did leave himself an out clause and said he might change his thinking overnight.

The proud father said he would love to see his boy break New Zealand's triple-century duck.

"I hope so, he looks pretty stuffed to me but he's quite strong in willpower," Stu said. "So he's got the chance hasn't he?"

Crowe told the Herald he wanted to see his mark, which he achieved against Sri Lanka at the Basin Reserve in 1991, finally overtaken.

"I've been waiting a long time for this triple century. We're the only top-eight nation that doesn't have one. It's one of those funny old stats that needs to be knocked off," Crowe said.

"More importantly it's been the ultimate example of leadership in taking a side out of one of the biggest holes to a point where they can still win the series."

McCullum's knock comes on the back of a remarkable 224 in the first test at Eden Park and he is fighting through a collection of injuries.

"To score 500-plus runs in two weeks when you know he has some ailments, well, superlatives don't really do it justice. It is monumental how he has dragged people with him," Crowe said.

"Now he has the 'small' job of getting 19 in the morning and leading New Zealand to a home series victory so they can keep climbing the test rankings."

With New Zealand holding a 1-0 lead in the two-test series, a positive morning session for the home side would likely bat India out of the game.

- NZ Herald

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