New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum heaped praised on his team-mates after leaving the international cricket arena for the last time.
McCullum farewelled Test cricket on Wednesday following New Zealand's seven-wicket defeat to Trans-Tasman rivals Australia at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
The 34-year-old, who amassed 6,453 runs for the Kiwis in the five-day game, managed to score the fastest Test century on record off just 54 deliveries on day one of the second match against Australia, but he was unable to bow out a winner in his 101st and final Test.
Afterwards, McCullum was quick to laud the Australians, who swept the series 2-0 to claim the number one Test ranking, before predicting a bright future for the Black Caps in an emotional post-match speech.
"You guys [Australia] have proven why you are the best team in the world. When you arrived here, we felt we were a chance but you blew us off the park in both Tests," said McCullum, who caught Usman Khawaja at slip before lunch on the fifth and final day.
"We've achieved some pretty cool things and, we've lost some games as well but we've got our soul back and you're absolutely great men and for the rest of my life I'll remember the time we've had playing for New Zealand.
"I firmly believe this team will go to a new level in the next couple of years. Thanks for buying into our vision and accepting that we had to play the game differently. And above all else, thank you for committing to the vision we had.
"Good luck to you all and we've got plenty of beers to drink."
McCullum added: "Coming in as a 20-year-old kid and leaving as a 34-year-old with three beautiful kids and an amazing wife and a career behind you, you step into the next phase with an element of sadness with what you're leaving behind but also a huge amount of excitement about what's in front of you."