Win or lose, Brendon McCullum was always going to bow out in his own inimitable manner. Playing his last Test match â€“ indeed international match â€“ for New Zealand, and with his Kiwi team in trouble on 32/3 on day one of the second Test against Australia, McCullum turned on the brute force, thumping the Aussie bowlers left, right and centre to smash the fastest century of all-time in Test match cricket.
McCullum drove, cut, pulled, thumped and walloped his way to a 54-ball 100, in the process breaking the legendary Viv Richards' century record of 56 balls, which he jointly held with Misbah-ul-Haq.
When McCullum is in the mood, there really is very little you can do, other than watch and pray one of those big hits goes to hand. That Australian prayer worked when McCullum was on 39, when Mitchell Marsh hung onto a catch at gully. However, James Pattinson produced the cardinal sin of overstepping and the record-breaking innings continued.
How wonderful it was too that it went on in McCullum's 101st and final Test match. Making light of that life, the McCullum smashing went on in earnest post Lunch in the second Test, with the main man hitting 16 fours and four sixes en route to his century. Typically, McCullum got to his 100 with a boundary to long-off off Josh Hazlewood, with the crowd at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch rising as one to applaud one of their true greats.
McCullum would eventually fall on 145 (79b, 21x4, 6x6), but not before bailing his team out of a spot of bother, with the home team finishing their innings on 370 from just 65.4 overs â€“ the lower order batsmen taking a leaf out of their captain's book. Australia would finish the day on 57/1 in a did-not-take-a-leaf-out-of-McCullum's-book 20 overs, with David Warner, the man who has the ability to get somewhere near McCullum's power, getting out early.
And for the fans who were privileged to watch this special innings, they can always say, "I was there when Baz broke the fastest Test century record in his final Test."
There will be a second innings for McCullum, and knowing the 34-year-old, it wouldn't be that much of a surprise if he went on to score a 53-ball hundred now would it.