Brendon McCullum came agonisingly close to breaking the world record for the fastest test double century as he lead New Zealand to 429 for 7 at stumps on the first day of the first test against Sri Lanka in Christchurch.
McCullum had raced to 195 from 134 balls before the home skipper was caught in the deep by Dimuth Karaunaratne off debutant spinner Tharindu Kaushal, sparking a rush to the exits from the capacity crowd of 8,000 in Christchurch.
The existing record was set in the same city when New Zealand's Nathan Astle took 153 balls to reach his double century against England at Lancaster Park in 2002.
The 33-year-old McCullum belted 18 fours and 11 sixes in his innings as he became the first New Zealand batsman to surpass 1,000 test runs in a calendar year and broke his own national record for the fastest century, which came off 74 balls.
Mark Craig was on five after wicketkeeper BJ Watling was trapped lbw for 26 in the final over but the hosts were in a dominant position after they had been asked to bat by Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews on a green pitch.
"Once I got under way and managed to create a partnership with Kane (Williamson), the runs began to flow quite nicely," McCullum said.
"It was nice to have a good solid day and put ourselves in front of the game and put some pressure back on Sri Lanka."
Despite the bowler-friendly conditions, Sri Lanka's attack did not look penetrating, despite New Zealand slumping to 88-3 shortly after lunch and the match seemingly swinging back towards the visitors.
Suranga Lakmal, however, dropped a simple caught and bowled opportunity off Williamson with the score on 103 and the floodgates opened.
McCullum punished anything short by slashing it to the cover-point boundary and when the Sri Lankan bowlers pitched up, he simply belted the ball back over their head.
He shared in a 126-run partnership with Williamson (54) and then a 153-run stand in 19.3 overs with all-rounder Jimmy Neesham (85) as the hosts took the visitors out of the contest by scoring at more than 5.3 runs an over.
"I was trying to be a little aggressive when the ball was up to get them to back their length off and that would create a scoring opportunity," McCullum added.
"I think there is still something in the wicket for the bowlers if you bowl the fuller length, so hopefully when we do get the ball in hand we can create some opportunities."
McCullum emphatically brought up the thousand-run milestone with a six.
McCullum was eventually caught for 195, putting on a national Test record 153-run partnership for the fifth wicket against Sri Lanka with Jimmy Neesham.
Neesham made 85 to help New Zealand to 429 for seven at stumps.
Neil Wagner has taken the third seam bowler's spot, with Doug Bracewell missing out, while spinner Craig is playing his first cricket Test on New Zealand soil in Christchurch.
Craig has edged Ish Sodhi as the Black Caps sole spinner for the Test.
The Boxing Day Test is the Black Caps' first international game in the city since the 2011 earthquake.
Hagley Oval becomes New Zealand's newest and eighth Test venue.