1 Jan 2015

Accolades flow for captain Brendon McCullum

12:58 pm on 1 January 2015

International media have labelled New Zealand's Brendon McCullum the best captain and batsman in the game, as well as a unique talent in Test cricket.

The Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum raises his bat to the crowd.

The Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum raises his bat to the crowd. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

A once in a lifetime innings from McCullum and high quality seam bowling ensured the Black Caps' fifth Test win of 2014 yesterday, the most by a New Zealand side in a calendar year.

McCullum smashed 195 runs off just 134 balls to help New Zealand to an eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka with a day to spare in the first Test at Christchurch's Hagley Oval, earning him the man of the match award.

In the process the 33-year-old became the first New Zealander to score more than 1000 runs in a calendar year and broke his own New Zealand record for the fastest Test century.

McCullum says he wasn't happy with his standing in international cricket at the start of the year and worked hard to iron out the weaknesses in his game.

"It's amazing what you can achieve when you kind of let go a little bit I guess, you know I'm sort of at that point in my career where every game you play is a bit of a bonus. You know I wasn't happy where I sat in international cricket probably 12-18 months ago and set about trying to rectify that and worked on some weakenesses which I was probably a little loath to do for the majority of my career and that's given me a bit more confidence. Couple that with the attitude I guess where every game could be your last, it's quite nice to be able to just go out there and play with that freedom."

New Zealand take a 1-0 series lead into the second and final Test starting in Wellington on Saturday.

Meanwhile all-rounder Corey Anderson has returned to the side after recovering from a groin injury, forcing Dean Brownlie out of the squad.

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