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Record-breaking McCullum heartbroken for Hughes

SHARJAH: New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, one-time team-mate of late Phillip Hughes, said he was thinking of the Australian and his family throughout his fiery double-hundred against Pakistan in Sharjah on Saturday.

“You are all in our thoughts, our hearts and in Phil’s case, our memories,” said McCullum in a message released by New Zealand Cricket.

Hughes died of a severe injury to his head on Thursday after being hit by South Australia’s paceman Sean Abbott bouncer in a New South Wales match in Sydney.

McCullum said the thoughts of his whole team were with Hughes, his family, and all those affected by the tragedy.

“Cricket is a sport, but the cricket community is a family. We are here for you, we are thinking of you,” said McCullum, whom he played with in Twenty20 cricket in Australia.

The dashing opener made a robust 188-ball 202 against Pakistan studded with 21 fours and 11 towering sixes to help his team pile a mammoth 637-8 on the third day of the third and final Test.

This becomes McCullum’s third double-hundred in a year, making him the fourth batsmen to do so, matching Australia’s trio of Don Bradman, Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke.

The big total gave New Zealand a lead of 286 and set them up strongly for a series-levelling win.

Pakistan lead the three-match series 1-0 after winning the first Test and drawing the second.

McCullum said his team’s focus was not on performances.

“On behalf of the Blackcaps I want to make the following statement. Our focus at the moment is not on our performances, it is all about Phil.

“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.

“We are reaching out to Phil’s family, Clarke and the Australian boys, medical staff, fans, all who have been affected by Phil’s passing. We are also reaching out to Abbott.”

Both teams abandoned the second day’s play in the third Test on Thursday after Hughes’s tragic news, wearing black armbands and observing a minute’s silence on Friday as mark of respect for the talented Hughes. -AFP

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