Shamik Das


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Brilliant Brendon lights up Lord's

So near yet so far: Brendan McCullum leans on his bat after being bowled by Monty Panesar just three runs short of a century

Lord's, first Test, first day: New Zealand 208/6 (McCullum 97; Anderson 3-42) v England


BRENDON McCULLUM fell agonisingly short of a deserved century today, bowled by Monty Panesar just before the close after rescuing New Zealand with a run-a-ball 97 full of attacking strokeplay.

It was the second time he had narrowly missed out on etching his name on the Lord's honours board, having scored 96 on New Zealand's last Test here four years ago.

McCullum came to the crease with the tourists foundering on 41 for 3 and guided them to 203 for 5 when a straight ball from Panesar ended his 99-run partnership with Jacob Oram - 23 not out overnight.

"I'm very, very disappointed not to have got the hundred but there's a long way to go in this game and hopefully I'll get another opportunity," he said.

"208 for 6 is not a bad result for us in terms of the day's set-up. It's hard to get too excited, but in the context of where we were, it is a pretty good fight.

"We've kept ourselves in the game, because if we'd been all out for 150, only one team could have won."

Fierce: McCullum opens his shoulders to smash a six down the ground    Unorthodox: New Zealand's top-scorer swivels to hit Stuart Broad down leg

New Zealand's wicket-keeper appeared to carry on where he left off in the Indian Premier League, hitting two straight sixes - in the space of four balls - and 13 fours, to follow his incredible 73-ball 158 not out for Kolkata last month.

"You do have to reign yourself in a touch, not because of the Twenty20 stuff, but because of my natural aggressiveness," added McCullum.

"It's not so much the technical change, it's the mental shift. Confidence-wise, when you're in a good vein of form, regardless of the format you are playing, it's just nice to have the bat in your hand.

"It was a huge change from the Twenty20s in India to the pure form of the game in a Test match at Lord's, but that's the nature of how it is in this day and age.

"You have to keep strong in your own mind and know your objective when you get out there, but it's easy to get up for a Test match at Lord's, it's the pinnacle of the game."

For England, James Anderson was the pick of the bowlers, claiming three cheap wickets, while Stuart Broad marked his home debut with two.

Live text commentary of day two on Cricinfo
Live audio commentary on Test Match Special

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