McCullum out to win farewell series


When Brendon McCullum steps out onto Basin Reserve on Friday, he will be competing in his 100th Test and his last at the famous Wellington ground. 

The New Zealand captain is retiring from international cricket at the end of the two-Test series against Australia, and will be looking to cap off an illustrious career with one last triumph. 

The 34-year-old's Test record is an impressive one - with 11 centuries, 30 half-centuries, 751 fours and 100 sixes on his way to a total of 6,273 runs. 

As well as reaching the landmark, McCullum can celebrate the remarkable achievement of making it 100 consecutive Test appearances, having failed to miss a game since his debut in 2004.

And McCullum would love to cap off Tests number 100 and 101 with a first series win over Australia.

"It will be nice to tick off a series win against Australia," McCullum said on Thursday. "It will be pretty special to be able to do it at home.

"It's also nice to be able to have one of your last Tests and the 100th Test on such a special ground.

"The last 15-20 Tests are a memorable part of my life, with the evolution of the environment and the performances we have started to put up.

"I look back with sense of pride in what I achieved to play 100 straight Tests; proud of the longevity, overcoming injuries and overcoming the toughness of touring and ups and downs of performance.

"I've still been able to get back up off the canvas and warrant a place in the team."

However, with all the attention set to be on McCullum, their trans-Tasman rivals will be looking to spoil the party. 

Australia have won 18 of their last 25 Test matches against New Zealand and have lost only once in that period. The Aussies are also undefeated in their last seven Tests - featuring five wins - but the Black Caps are unbeaten in their last 13 Tests on home soil, winning seven and drawing six.

However, the condition of the pitch in Wellington, which is expected to retain some of the significant grass cover it had on the eve of the game, may cause some problems for the visitors.

Captain Steve Smith admits he is aware of what may face Australia, and knows his side will need to be wary following some disappointing performances in similar conditions during the Ashes last year.

"We haven't been good enough with the bat on wickets that have been doing a bit in the last year or so," he said.

"The wicket here looks like it might do a bit so we've got a bit to prove and we've got to adapt accordingly, a lot better than we have in recent times."