HYDERABAD, India, (Reuters) - Brendon McCullum stroked his first double century to dash India’s hopes of forcing a victory against New Zealand on the final day of the second test on Tuesday.
India made 68 without loss at close after the visitors declared their second innings at 448 for eight at tea, setting the hosts an improbable target of 327 runs to win in the last session of the day.
Virender Sehwag returned to hit an unbeaten run-a-ball 54, studded with six boundaries and a six, to bring up his second half-century of the match. Fellow opener Gautam Gambhir stayed not out on 14.
McCullum (225) frustrated the Indian spinners with his quick footwork and deft reverse sweeps. He was dropped on 148 by substitute fielder Cheteshwar Pujara at short leg off Harbhajan Singh’s bowling.
The stylish right-hander reached the coveted double hundred mark with a paddle scoop to the fine leg boundary off part-time spinner Suresh Raina.
“It was quite important for us to bat some time and score some runs, else we were in danger of losing the Test,” man of the match McCullum told Neo Cricket channel.
“So far it’s been thoroughly enjoyable and a different challenge. When you are a strokemaker you always want to find the right tempo. Sometimes you are guilty of being over aggressive.”
Resuming on 237 for four, McCullum and Kane Williamson (69) added 124 runs for the fifth wicket before the latter was out, adjudged leg before to Harbhajan.
McCullum perished trying to hit paceman Shanthakumaran Sreesanth (3-121) for the third consecutive boundary, skying a slower ball for Raina to take a well-judged catch.
Williamson, playing only his second test, was impressive against the spinners, who failed to extract any considerable bite off the fifth day pitch at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
“Young Kane (Williamson) has been outstanding in these two tests and he has already proved he is a valuable part of our team,” McCullum said of the 20-year old.
India paceman Zaheer Khan was ruled out of the third and final test to be played at Nagpur from Nov. 20-24 due to an injury.
Khan suffered an abdominal strain on Sunday and could bowl only three overs on the final morning before walking off the field, severely denting the Indian attack with the new ball.
Left-arm seamer Jaidev Unadkat, 19, was named as Khan’s replacement for the Nagpur test. The youngster is yet to make his international debut.
The three-match series is tied at 0-0 after the first two tests.