29 Nov 2014

McCullum smashes fastest NZ tonne

10:37 am on 29 November 2014

Opener Brendon McCullum smashed the fastest test century by a New Zealander to give the Black Caps the upper hand in the third and final match against Pakistan in Sharjah.

Pakistan vs New Zealand, 28 November 2014 .NZ players bats and caps in tribute of Australia batsman Phillip Hughes on the second day of third test in Sharjah.

Pakistan vs New Zealand, 28 November 2014 .NZ players bats and caps in tribute of Australia batsman Phillip Hughes on the second day of third test in Sharjah. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Black Caps skipper completed his tenth hundred off just 78 balls and went on to reach 153 before bad light ended play seven overs early with New Zealand 249 for 1 just 102 runs away from Pakistan's first-innings total of 351.

Earlier off-spinner Mark Craig took a career best 7-94, his first five wicket haul, as Pakistan lost their last seven wickets for just 70 runs to be all out for 351 after resuming on 281 for 2, squandering a strong position on a flat Sharjah stadium pitch.

Kane Williamson matched McCullum's aggression and was unbeaten on 76, putting an impressive 198 for the unfinished second wicket stand which gave New Zealand a strong position to level the series which they trail 1-0.

Pakistan won the first Test while the second ended in a draw.

But McCullum's rapidfire knock was overshadowed by the gloomy atmosphere as Pakistan and New Zealand observed a minute's silence before start and wore black armbands to join in the mourning for young Australian batsman Phillip Hughes who died Thursday after being hit by a bouncer.

Phillip Hughes tribute black armband.

Phillip Hughes tribute black armband. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The New Zealand team also did not celebrate any dismissal.

The teams abandoned yesterday's second day's play as a mark of respect for the talented Australian.

The New Zealand's coach Mike Hesson admitted the day was gloomy despite his team's dominance.

"It wasn't about cricket today," said Hesson.

"It was about supporting a fellow player and the key for us to stay calm as some players were struggling more than the others."

"Craig showed a lot of character and his drift and variety got him rewards," said Hesson.

McCullum stole the show, hitting eight sixes -- four off left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar -- and 17 boundaries as New Zealand rattled the total in just 45 overs.

In the penultimate over before tea he hit four boundaries in one paceman Mohammad Talha over before two quick singles completed his hundred.

This was the fastest hundred ever by a New Zealand batsman, beating the 81-ball hundred Ross Taylor made against Australia at Hamilton in 2010.

Williamson, who had a dismal series before this match, hit seven fours and a six off 96 balls.

Their stand is New Zealand's best for second wicket against Pakistan, beating the 195 between John Wright and Geoff Howarth in Napier in 1997.

Pakistan's spin-cum pace attack looked hapless against McCullum as Babar conceded 71 in his ten overs while leggie Yasir Shah gave 59 in as many overs.

Tom Latham was the only wicket to fall, caught behind off Rahat Ali for 13.

Opener Mohammad Hafeez hit a career best 197 before he miscued a pull off leg-spinner Ish Sodhi and was caught at deep square-leg.

He hit 25 boundaries and three sixes during a dominating seven hour ten minute stay at the crease to better his previous highest of 196 made against Sri Lanka in Colombo two years ago.

But it was skipper Misbah-ul Haq who sparked a collapse, edging seamer Tim Southee to wicket-keeper BJ Watling in the fourth over of the day, without adding to his score of 38.

Craig wrapped up the middle and lower order dismissing Asad Shafiq (11), Sarfraza Ahmed (15), Talha (nought), Rahat Ali (nought) and Yasir Shah (25) -- his last four wickets coming off 25 balls.

Craig's previous best of 4-91 came in his debut Test against the West Indies in Jamaica in June this year.

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