McCullum eyes series-saving win in his last int’l outing

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Christchurch—It was job first and retirement talk second for Brendon McCullum Friday on the eve of the final Test against Australia, with his focus firmly on a series-saving win and not his international swansong.
The clash in Christchurch will mark the charismatic New Zealand captain’s 101st and final Test on his home ground at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
New Zealand are playing “big brother” Australia, are one Test down in a two-Test series, and the swashbuckling McCullum needs just one more six to move to 101 and topple Australian Adam Gilchrist with the most Test sixes.
His farewell has drawn a sell-out crowd, with day three the fifth anniversary of the devastating earthquakes which claimed 185 lives in Christchurch. Despite the emotional occasion, McCullum said it was “pretty easy” to shut out the distractions.
“We have got a job to do. We are 1-0 down in the series. We have got one Test to go and we have to find a way to square the series,” he said.
“At the moment all I’m focusing on is trying to enjoy the last Test with the boys.
“It will be special, playing in Christchurch as well… There is a lot to look forward to and plenty of time for reflection after the Test.”
The green wicket will again appeal to the seamers as Australia found in the first Test when they rolled New Zealand inside two sessions on the first day and went on to win by an innings and 52 runs in four days.
Both sides have made changes to their bowling attack following injuries to Doug Bracewell and Peter Siddle.
New Zealand are expected to bring in Matt Henry, their most successful bowler against Australia in the pre-Test ODI series.
Australia have included James Pattinson for Siddle, although captain Steve Smith downplayed the significance of a green-topped wicket. “I don’t think it is a concern. For me it’s about making sure our batters adapt to the conditions. We know what we’re likely to face, we knew that before we came over here,” he said.—AFP