Christchurch: Having set the record for the fastest century in Test cricket at the Hagley Oval here on Saturday, veteran New Zealand star Brendon McCullum said he almost felt "embarrassed" while going past the previous milestone set by his idol Viv Riichards.
Walking in when New Zealand were in trouble at 32/3 on the opening day of the first Test against Australia, McCullum smashed 100 runs off 54 deliveries to pull the hosts out of trouble. McCullum, who completed his century with a boundary, scored 145 off 79 balls before Nathan Lyon pulled off a superb catch off James Pattinson's bowling to send him back to the pavilion.
His hurricane knock helped the Kiwis post a first innings total of 370 runs. Australia were on 57/1 at stumps.
McCullum thus went past the previous mark set by West Indies legend Viv Richards, who had taken 56 balls to reach triple figures against England at St John's, Antigua, in the 1985-86 season. It is a fitting swansong for the 34-year-old Kiwi, who has announced that he will retire after this Test.
"I was trying to hit every ball for four or six. I wasn't aware of the record but very respectful of all those who've held it before. It'd be nice to win the Test match, that'd be the most important thing," McCullum told the media after the end of the day's play.
"Viv Richards was my idol growing up. It's nice to be able to go past him but jeez, he was a cracking player, an incredible cricketer. I'm almost a bit embarrassed to go past him, to be honest. Hopefully he enjoyed a bit of the 'stroke-making', we'll call it," he added.
The day did not have a perfect start for the New Zealand captain. He lost the toss and Australia captain Steven Smith asked the hosts to bat first on a green wicket.
McCullum survived a couple of close calls early in his innings, most notably when he tried to smash a Pattinson delivery and was brilliantly caught by a diving Mitchell Marsh at gully.
However, the umpires checked the replays and confirmed that Pattinson had delivered a no-ball.
"I thought it was four as soon as I hit it, then I turned around and it was their third great catch of the day. Steve Smith's catches were phenomenal as well. We talked about that they do push the front line a little bit. You're always hopeful but you don't anticipate it actually being a no-ball so it was quite a nice reprieve," McCullum said.
"It probably loosens you up a little bit and relaxes you a bit more. You know you're probably not meant to be out there so you might as well play with even more freedom."
When asked when he felt that it could be his day the Kiwi captain said,"Probably second ball when I had an almighty, filthy slog and it went over the slips cordon for four. When you're confronted with wickets like that you know you're going to have to be pretty aggressive and need some luck, and we got quite a bit of luck. That partnership between Corey [Anderson] and I was great fun but also instrumental for us to hopefully set the Test match up."
"I've been on the other side many times and you walk off and think 'jeez if I'd reined it in a little bit who knows what would have happened'. On that wicket the feedback from the boys was that at any stage the ball could have your name on it. I tried to be as positive as I possibly could and hoped things would roll our way."
"When Corey came out he played aggressively and we started to get some momentum. We were able to knock them off that difficult length at the top of off stump. If you're just trying to hang in there on that wicket, around the top of off stump, you're in big trouble. It's nice when things come off," he added. (IANS)