New Zealand media today showered praise on triple centurion Brendon McCullum, describing him as "Captain Fantastic" and his epic 302-run innings as their "greatest innings".
McCullum yesterday became the first New Zealand batsman to score a triple century as the skipper helped his team to force a draw in the second Test and complete a 1-0 series win against India in the two-match rubber.
"Innings of a lifetime" and "History maker" was how Dominion Post hailed McCullum. "Our greatest innings," announced the New Zealand
Herald's front page, which also had a picture of McCullum with his arms reaching to the sky after his mamoth 302-run innings in the second innings at Basin Reserve.
"No wonder he looked so shattered," the Dominion Post said, adding that the tattooed 32-year-old had earned a place alongside the legends of New Zealand cricket.
Describing the euphoria around McCullum's epic innings, the paper read: "The queues snaked on to Kent Terrace with fans buying half-price tickets and awaiting history with expectant eyes like children on Christmas morning. Not since Richard Hadlee's 300th test wicket in 1986 had there been scnes like it."
The New Zealand media also heaped praise on debutante allrounder Jimmy Neesham, who scored an unbeaten 137, the highest score by a No 8 batsman in his first test, with headlines reading "Jimmy Neesham in dreamland" and "Neesham
makes own history on debut".
Besides individual praises, New Zealand cricket team also received accolades for their dominating performances throughout the bilateral series, where they won 4-0 in the five ODIs before beating India in the two-test series 1-0.
"Yesterday stopped a nation to a degree. A lot of people took great deal of satisfaction out of it. As a New Zealander, not only as coach, it was a pretty special moment," Hesson said. "It defined the way we want to play our cricket." MORE
"It's been a heck of a summer," Hesson told commercial radio. "We've got some nice players around New Zealand at the moment and it's a matter of picking the right time to introduce them."
Hesson said the kiwi fans are supporting the team because of their positive attitude and fighting spirit. "(I said) the New Zealand public are behind you guys because of the way you're playing your cricket Ė you're showing the fighting characteristics that, as New Zealanders, we love to see," he said. "But we know as a group that we've just turned a corner and we have to get better and better."
New Zealand will be co-hosting next year's 50 over World Cup along with Australia and their Cricket board member Martin Snedden said their performance will provide a huge boost to the game ahead of the sporting extravaganza.
"We needed the home team to be firing to make sure people's enthusiasm was at the right levels and the team has responded brilliantly," said Snedden. "So it's all good news for cricket in New Zealand at the moment."