Andrew Mulligan: The one wicket wonder

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Brendon's sole success gives him family bragging rights.
Brendon McCullum celebrates the only wicket of his test career, taken against Pakistan in Dubai in 2014. Photo / Getty Images
Brendon McCullum celebrates the only wicket of his test career, taken against Pakistan in Dubai in 2014. Photo / Getty Images

He's about to play his 100th cricket test for New Zealand, incredibly in a row, and has 100 test match sixes to his name.

He's cracked a triple century on the very ground the most important home test series we've had in a while begins and he's fresh from reaching 200 sixes in ODIs.

He's racked up records and milestones and has the country buzzing about cricket.

But the most impressive figure that stood out to me on Brendon McCullum's Cricinfo career summary are his bowling figures: 25.1 overs, 3 maidens, 85 runs, one wicket.

Oh, behold the glorious wicket.

It was crucial, too. It was starting to be a long, drawn-out end to the first Pakistan innings of cricket's 2146th test in November 2014.

Dubai's stadium was near empty and Sarfraz Ahmed, the wicketkeeper-batsman who had recently batted the Aussies into submission, was becoming a thorn in New Zealand's side.

He set about crafting a century and in the process was part of a record 10th-wicket partnership against New Zealand with Rahat Ali, with the pair ultimately putting on 81 runs.

Mark Craig and Ish Sodhi were having no luck on a lifeless pitch, so McCullum threw the ball to himself.

When you look at his bowling action, the main thing that juts out is his perfect technique. Clearly hours spent in the nets with former Black Caps bowling coach Shane Bond paid off.

Danny Morrison's commentary reaction suggested it shouldn't be possible for the captain to snare a wicket. "Can you believe it, it's worked!" are the words of that famous moment.

The seam was up and it pitched kind of in line but that was a hint of the metronomic inspiration of Glenn McGrath with the mastery of Bond's insightful coaching.

Sarfraz, clearly confused by the wizardry, looped it straight back to McCullum. It belies what Cricinfo's live scoring said, which was "Sarfraz wanted to slap this length delivery down the ground but doesn't get hold of that, flat-bats it straight back at the bowler".

New Zealand Herald cricket writer Andrew Alderson was there and remembers it fondly.

"It's one more than Nathan's got, was what I think was the sentiment from Brendon afterwards. Having never played a test and getting closer to 36, Nathan McCullum probably isn't going to get two wickets for New Zealand wearing the whites."

Spare a thought for Nathan -- one more test wicket than your brother is something to cherish the rest of your life.

Brendon remembers it fondly and with the intelligence of a test wicket-taker, he gave some tactical insight into the famous delivery.

"I held it in the back of the hand a little bit," he said, the memory obviously still fresh in his mind and as vivid as his 100 test sixes, the record of which he says he's most proud.

The rest is history.

- NZ Herald

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