Pak vs NZ: New Zealand reaches 637-8 in 3rd test vs Pakistan
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: New Zealand smashed a record 19 sixes in a test innings on Saturday, reaching 637-8 to lead Pakistan by 286 runs at stumps on the third day of the third test.
Australia held the previous innings record for sixes with 17 against Zimbabwe in 2003 at Perth.
Captain Brendon McCullum led the way with 11 sixes and 21 fours in his blistering knock of 202 off 188 balls and Kane Williamson just missed his double century with a career-best 192 and a solitary six.
The pair put on 297 off 317 balls and broke New Zealand's 22-year-old record for the second wicket against any test-playing opposition.
With two days to go, New Zealand is well placed to level the series after losing the first test by 248 runs before drawing the second last week.
McCullum said his players were thinking of Phillip Hughes, the 25-year-old test batsman who died on Thursday, two days after being struck by a bouncer while batting in a match between South Australia and New South Wales.
"Our focus at the moment is not on our performances, it is all about Phil," McCullum said in a statement. "We are heartbroken for Phil's family, Greg, Virginia, Megan and Jason. No one should go through what you guys are going through right now."
Resuming New Zealand's first innings at 249-1, McCullum and Williamson prospered against listless bowling before Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson and Tim Southee all scored 50 — and hit two sixes each — to put Pakistan on the back foot.
Rahat Ali claimed three wickets in the last session to end with 4-89, but the rest of the bowlers were outplayed in New Zealand's third highest-ever total in a test innings.
Southee twice lofted Mohammad Hafeez over long off for big sixes to level Australia's record of 17 sixes in a test innings, before Mark Craig (34 not out) broke the mark by hoisting legspinner Yasir Shah over his head.
Southee was later dropped by Pakistan's most expensive bowler Zulfiqar Babar (0-169) at long on before Mohammad Talha had him caught at the same position off the last ball to end a frustrating day for Pakistan in the field.
Williamson looked set for his maiden double hundred but fell off Ali's first delivery after tea when he played away from his body and the ball flew off a thick edge to Younis Khan in the slips.
Williamson hit 23 fours in his 6 1/2 hour innings of superb strokeplay as he and McCullum broke the 2nd-wicket record of 241 set against England in 1992 by John Wright and Andrew Jones.
Williamson, 76 overnight, completed his eighth test hundred when he clipped Talha to the midwicket boundary as New Zealand added 138 runs in the first session and progressed to a solid 388-2.
Even the two spinners couldn't stop the flow of runs with McCullum racing to 196 by hitting two fours and a six in left-arm spinner Babar's over.
McCullum, who notched New Zealand's first test triple century and also a double century earlier this year against India, raced to 200 when he lofted Shah for a six, but two balls later he couldn't connect a sweep and was bowled around his legs.
McCullum's swashbuckling knock also gives him a chance to become New Zealand's first player to score 1,000 test runs in a calendar year with 969 runs so far in 2014.
Talha, making his test comeback, was smashed for 136 runs in his 23 overs with erratic bowling. It was a match to forget for Talha as he had Taylor caught behind on 49 but the batsman was recalled by the umpires because the fast bowler had overstepped and bowled a no-ball.
Williamson continued to prosper despite McCullum departing in the first session. He drove and pulled fast bowlers with power while using his feet well against the spinners as he put on 116 runs with Taylor before Pakistan claimed five wickets in the last session.