McCullum impressed by New Zealand's character


Brendon McCullum was impressed by the strength of character New Zealand showed to earn a draw in the second Test against Australia.

The Black Caps totalled 624 in reply to Australia's 559-9 declared in the first innings of the second Test, with Kane Williamson (166) and Ross Taylor (290) leading the charge.

It did not prove enough to level the series, however, as play was brought to a close on the final day with New Zealand at 104-2, forcing the tourists to settle for a draw.

The Black Caps captain was delighted his team rallied in such a manner and, despite losing any chance of wresting the Trans-Tasman trophy away from Australia, was positive about the performance.

"It's satisfying sometimes when you fight your way back from being as far back in the game as we were, and being able to come out of it at the end of five days with, not just a draw, but a pretty encouraging sign of the steel and the resolve and the backbone within this line-up as well," McCullum said.

"It would have been very easy for us to have fallen over in our first innings of batting - and we've seen it time and time again.

"On this occasion we had two guys stand up [Williamson and Taylor], two strong leaders within the group stand up, and play two incredibly important innings for us, and for a little while gave us the ability to dream about perhaps pulling off an against-the-odds Test win.

"But in the end I think a draw was a good result. After Kane and Ross' innings it would have felt pretty hollow to have come out without at least a draw in this Test match as well."

The Test brought a close to Mitchell Johnson's international career for Australia, and McCullum took time to praise the 34-year-old.

"I think it's important to focus on just what an incredible difference he made to this game during the years that he played," he added.

"And I guess with the amount of criticism he has taken over the course of his career as well, for him to withstand that and continue to stay strong to his values and to go out there and take wickets for Australia is testament to the bloke.

"As a group we wish him all the best for his future. I'm pretty pleased he's not playing in [the third Test in] Adelaide!"