Tuesday 25 February 2014 

Cricket World Player Of The Week - Brendon McCullum

Brendon McCullum raises his bat
Brendon McCullum celebrates his triple-century on the fifth morning in Wellington.
© REUTERS/Anthony Phelps. Picture Supplied by Action Images
 

Brendon McCullum became the first New Zealander to hit Test match triple-hundred to win him this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week award.

He began Monday morning in Wellington on 114 and would move onto 281 by the close of the day. Tuesday then dawned with an air of anticipation around the Basin Reserve as the crowd gathered to see if he could go past Martin Crowe’s New Zealand record of 299. He did so with a four through third man, completing the 28th triple-ton ever in the long and glorious history of Test cricket.

Other notable performances from the second half of that Wellington Test came from Jimmy Neesham, who reached three figures on debut and allowed McCullum to take his time in completing his record-breaking feat, and Virat Kohli, who then hit a belligerent unbeaten 105 to help India stave off defeat on the final afternoon after they had been reduced to 54 for three.

Away from New Zealand, but staying with Test cricket, it again showed just why it is so many people’s favourite format of the game with a thrilling second Test between South Africa and Australia that saw the hosts level the series after being blown away by Mitchell Johnson in Centurion.

Dale Steyn (4-55) found reverse swing as nine wickets fell in the final session on day four which, with rain forecast for day five, took the Proteas to victory in the nick of time. This was despite the best efforts of Chris Rogers, who hit 107, and David Warner, who hit fluent half-centuries in both innings for the visitors. AB de Villiers and JP Duminy had both hit hundreds, while Dean Elgar made 83, in South Africa’s impressive first innings 423.

In limited-overs cricket, Sri Lanka secured a clean sweep of their three-match ODI series in Bangladesh. Thisara Perera led them to victory with a sparkling 80 not out off 57 balls in a low-scoring opening game to help them recover from a torrid start. Centuries from Kumar Sangakkara and Kushal Perera then saw them win games two and three.

And finally, Ireland began the international leg of their tour of the West Indies with a hard-fought win in the first of two Twenty20 Internationals in Jamaica. Ed Joyce starred with a calm unbeaten 40 off 49 balls as they chased down their modest target in the final over. A series win then beckoned after another poor West Indies batting display in the second game, but Darren Sammy led the hosts’ bowlers with three for 22 as Ireland ended just short of their first series win against a Full Member nation. Alex Cusack was named player of the series for his return of six for 28 off eight overs.

The one-off One-Day International was then a more straightforward affair for the West Indies as Dwayne Bravo and Jason Holder each took three wickets to help dismiss Ireland for 202. Bravo then chipped in with 35 off 29 balls in the run chase to follow on from a century opening stand between Dwayne Smith and Kieran Powell as the West Indies won easily.

© Cricket World 2014