Before and After Brendon

McCullum’s feat widened the horizon for modern-day cricket, a format known for its sedate pace was jolted out of slumber by the sheer fury of his willow.

The erstwhile New Zealand skipper walked into retirement, he left behind a record that still remains untouched.   -  GETTY IMAGES

It was a record Sir Vivian Richards maintained for almost three decades. In April 1986, the Carribbean legend took just 56 balls to hammer a Test century — the fastest then.

In the fifth Test against England at the St. John’s, Richards toyed with an English bowling attack studded with big names like Ian Botham and Neil Foster.

Even though former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq equalled the feat against Australia in 2015, Richard’s heroics could not be surpassed.

At a time, when cricket was all about driving in the fast lanes, it was quite evident that someday or the other, the coveted achievement would be broken, but it remained to be seen who could do the incredible.

FIVE FASTEST CENTURIONS

54: Brendon McCullum (New Zealand): 2015/16

56: Vivian Richards (West Indies): 1985/86

56: Misbah-ul Haq (Pakistan): 2014/15

57: Adam Gilchrist (Australia): 2006/07

67: Jack Morrison Gregory (England): 1921/22

 

Then came the morning of February 20, 2016!

The world sat back as Brendon McCullum, playing his last Test, toppled Richard’s age-old record— bludgeoning the fastest Test century in just 54 balls—against Australia.

As the erstwhile New Zealand skipper walked into retirement, he left behind a record that still remains untouched.

The conditions at Christchurch were not something that a batsman would want. Those who watched him play that day believed that McCullum—appearing in his final fixture—played fearlessly, and perhaps that’s why could go all out and breach the landmark.

Fastest Centurions (Team-wise)

INDIA

74: Mohammad Azharuddin (vs South Africa): 1996/97

74: Kapil Dev (vs Sri Lanka): 1986/87

PAKISTAN

56: Misbah-ul Haq (vs Australia ): 2014/15

SRI LANKA

81: Mahela Jayawardene (vs Bangladesh): 2001/02

BANGLADESH

94: Tamim Iqbal (vs England): 2010

ZIMBABWE

106: Sean Williams (vs New Zealand): 2016

WEST INDIES

56: Vivian Richards (vs England): 1985/86

AUSTRALIA

57: Adam Gilchrist (vs England): 2006/07

ENGLAND

67: Jack Gregory (vs South Africa): 1921/22

SOUTH AFRICA

75: AB de Villiers (vs India): 2010/11

NEW ZEALAND

54: Brendon McCullum (vs Australia): 2015/16

 

Though McCullum has, under his belt, the fastest Test ton, the dynamic 'keeper-batsman is No. 5 on the list of fastest Test tons, in terms of minutes.

While it took McCullum 78 minutes to reach his hundred, yesteryear England batsman, late Jack Morrison Gregory, scored it in just 70.

Playing against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1922, Gregory, at that time, became the fastest centurion in the longest format of the game - a record that is intact to date.

A trend-setter

That said, McCullum’s feat widened the horizon for modern-day cricket. A format known for its sedate pace was jolted out of slumber by the sheer fury of his willow.

Former Australian 'keeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist too had racked up a century off 57 balls against England in 2007 but that —at the time—was considered a one-off inning.

But with the advent of T20 cricket, such heroics soon became the order of the day. David Warner reached the triple figure in 69 balls, while Chris Gayle took one ball more to get to the magical mark.

However, there are only three Indians on the list. While Kapil Dev and Mohammad Azharuddin scored tons in 74 balls, Virender Sehwag took 78 balls against the West Indies.

That was in 2007. It has been more than a decade since, and no Indian batsman has come close to equalling the record.