Brendon McCullum struck the fastest ever test century in a blistering counter-attack that dragged his side back into the second test against Australia, with New Zealand 273 for six at tea on the first day on Saturday.
The New Zealand captain, playing his 101st and final test, reached his 12th test century from just 54 balls as he and Corey Anderson bludgeoned the visitors’ attack in a scintillating 75 minutes after lunch at Hagley Oval.
McCullum was dismissed for 145 when Nathan Lyon took a good catch in the deep to end a 179-run partnership with Anderson, who reached his fourth test half-century from 39 balls and was dismissed for 72 shortly before tea.
McCullum was also brilliantly caught when on 39 with Marsh’s one-handed effort in the gully, but television replays showed fast bowler James Pattinson had overstepped the mark and the captain was reprieved.
The 34-year-old then went into all-out attack mode, reaching his century 24 balls later with his 16th boundary.
McCullum needed two fewer balls than the 56 that West Indies’ Viv Richards needed against England in Antigua in 1986 and Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq took against Australia in Abu Dhabi in 2014.
He also hit four sixes in his first 100 runs, his first before lunch securing outright ownership of the record for career sixes in test cricket. He had started the day tied with Adam Gilchrist on 100 career sixes.