WELLINGTON, Feb 18 (PTI): India ended the ignominious tour of New Zealand by drawing the second and final cricket Test after home team skipper Brendon McCullum became the first Kiwi batsman to hit a triple-century and stage an incredible turnaround to clinch the two-match series 1-0, here today.
McCullum struck a historic 302, while BJ Watling made 124 and debutant James Neesham scored an unbeaten 137 as New Zealand declared their second innings at 680 for eight, giving India an improbable 435 runs to chase in little over two sessions of play. India overcame some anxious moments before finishing at 166 for three in 52 overs as the two captains decided to call off the proceedings with no result in sight. Virat Kohli smashed his sixth Test century and remained unbeaten on 105, while Rohit Sharma was not out on 31. It turned out to be a disastrous tour for India as they remained winless, losing the ODI series 0-4 and the Test series 0-1 following their 40-run loss in the first Test at Auckland.
India looked like winning this Test match after reducing New Zealand to 94 for five in their second innings but McCullum staged a remarkable fightback and together with Watling shared a world record partnership of 352 runs for the sixth wicket to take the hosts to safety.
After Watling�s departure, McCullum stitched another crucial 179-run stand with Neesham for the seventh wicket to take the match beyond India�s reach.
McCullum�s 302 runs overtook Martin Crowe�s 299 scored against Sri Lanka, also at the same ground, in 1991 to become highest individual Test scorer for New Zealand. It was also the third-highest innings by a number five batsman in Test cricket after Michael Clarke�s 329 not out against India in 2012 and Sir Don Bradman�s 304 against England in 1934.
McCullum�s effort is also the second-highest individual score in the second innings after Hanif Mohammad�s 337 against West Indies in 1958. Overall he is the 24th Test batsman to hit a triple-hundred, while this is the 28th instance of a triple-hundred being scored. Chasing an impossible 435-run target, India lost their top three batsmen in the post-lunch session at the Basin Reserve. But Kohli stood tall and scored 105 unbeaten runs off just 135 balls with the help of 15 fours and one six) to steady India�s ship after they were reduced to 54 for three.
Kohli reached his century in the 49th over of the innings off 129 balls. He made good use of the life he was given in the 13th over in the post-lunch session at the personal score of 23, when umpire Steve Davis had failed to judge an edge off Trent Boult.
Kohli and Rohit put on an unbeaten 112 runs for the fourth-wicket partnership to deny New Zealand any inroads.
In the morning session, New Zealand rode on McCullum�s historic 302 and debutant James Neesham�s unbeaten 137 to declare their second innings at 680 for eight in 210 overs with an overall lead of 434 runs.
Starting at 10 for no loss post-lunch, India had the simple task of batting out two sessions to save the Test. But as has been the story in this tour so far wherein they haven�t managed to win a single game, the visitors botched it up.
Openers Shikhar Dhawan (2) and Murali Vijay (7) were dismissed soon after resumption of play. While the former was out in the very first over after lunch, LBW to Trent Boult (1/30) as the delivery hit the top of his pads, the latter went in the next over, caught at third slip by Corey Anderson off Tim Southee (2/33).
New Zealand 1st innings 192
India 1st innings 438
New Zealand 2nd innings (overnight 252-5)
Peter Fulton lbw b Khan 1
H Rutherford c Dhoni b Khan 35
Kane Williamson c Dhoni b Khan 7
Tom Latham c Dhoni b Shami 29
B McCullum c Dhoni b Khan 302
Corey Anderson c & b Jadeja 2
B J Watling lbw b Shami 124
Jimmy Neesham not out 137
Tim Southee c Pujara b Khan 11
Neil Wagner not out 2
Extras: (B-9, LB-12, W-2, NB-7) 30
Total: (for 8 wkts; 210 overs) 680
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-27, 3-52, 4-87, 5-94, 6-446, 7-625, 8-639.
Bowling: Ishant Sharma 45-4-164-0, Zaheer Khan 51-13-170-5, Mohammed Shami 43-6-149-2, Ravindra Jadeja 52-11-115-1, Rohit Sharma 11-0-40-0, Virat Kohli 6-1-13-0, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 1-0-5-0, Shikhar Dhwan 1-0-3-0.
India 2nd innings:
Vijay c Anderson b Southee 7
Dhawan lbw b Boult 2
Pujara c Watling b Southee 17
Virat Kohli not out 105
Rohit Sharma not out 31
Extras : (W-2, NB-2) 4
Total: (for 3 wkts in 52 overs) 166
Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-10, 3-54
Bowling: Boult 16-5-47-1, Southee 16-3-50-2, Wagner 11-3-38-0, Neesham 5-0-25-0, Anderson 4-1-6-0.