Cricket: Cullinan reaches milestone

South Africa 621-5 dec New Zealand 205-2

DARYLL CULLINAN became South Africa's highest individual Test scorer with an unbeaten 275 out of South Africa's total of 621 for 5 declared on the third day of the first Test against New Zealand at Eden Park yesterday.

Worthy though his achievement was, the home side's batsmen confirmed the lifelessness of the pitch by reaching 205 for 2 by the close of play.

Cullinan passed the 274 scored by Graeme Pollock against Australia at Kingsmead in 1969-70 with a scurried second run off Craig McMillan's medium pace, at which point the captain, Hansie Cronje, declared.

The stylish right-hander, 32 next week, also batted longer than any other South African, staying in for 10 hours 59 minutes, nine minutes longer than Gary Kirsten required to score his 210 against England at Old Trafford last year.

Cullinan's innings spanned 490 deliveries and contained 27 fours and two sixes. His two records supplement two other national records he holds. He became the youngest first-class century-maker in South Africa at the age of 16 years 304 days and then made their highest first-class score, 337, in 1995.

Just two wickets fell all day, Roger Twose being caught behind by Mark Boucher off the bowling of Allan Donald after contributing 31 to an opening stand of 80 and Nathan Astle falling in identical style after scoring a breezy 41, which included lifting spinner Paul Adams for two sixes in an over.

The pitch, which was covered with wood glue before the match got under way to stop it breaking up, seems unlikely to deteriorate. If anything it is becoming easier for the batsmen and Horne capitalised to finish unbeaten, and untroubled, on 92 from 219 balls.

Third day; New Zealand won toss

SOUTH AFRICA - First Innings

(overnight 562-5)

D J Cullinan not out 275

S M Pollock not out 69

Extras (b4 lb9 nb2) 15

Total (for 5 dec, 200.1 overs) 621

Did not bat: M V Boucher, L Klusener, A A Donald, P R Adams.

Bowling: Doull 33-7-90-1; Allott 38-5-153-1 (1nb); Nash 28-2-97-0 (1nb); Vettori 42-8-120-1; Harris 45-10-94-2; McMillan 5.1-0-24-0; Astle 9-1- 30-0.

NEW ZEALAND - First Innings

R G Twose c Boucher b Donald 31

M J Horne not out 92

N J Astle c Boucher b Donald 41

C D McMillan not out 21

Extras (16lb 4nb) 20

Total (for 2, 74 overs) 205

Fall: 1-80, 2-170.

To bat: C Z Harris, A C Parore, M D Bell, *D J Nash, D L Vettori, S B Doull, G I Allott.

Bowling: Donald 17-10-33-2; Pollock 16-5-40-0 (2nb); Klusener 12-5-23-0; Adams 17-5-61-0; Kallis 10-3-24- 0 (2nb); Cullinan 2-1-8-0.

Umpires: R S Dunne and D J Harper.

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