Wellington: New Zealand`s fightback from a position where they looked likely to lose the second test against Sri Lanka inside three days to achieve victory on the final afternoon was testament to the Black Caps` team ethic, captain Brendon McCullum has said.
The hosts dismissed Sri Lanka for 196 in their second innings shortly before tea on the fifth and final day at the Basin Reserve on Wednesday, achieving an 193-run win to complete a 2-0 series sweep.
The foundation for the win was set when Kane Williamson and BJ Watling combined for a world record sixth-wicket partnership of 365 after they had come together with New Zealand on 159 for five and leading by just 24 runs.
Their stand ensured McCullum was able to declare and set Sri Lanka a daunting 390 runs to win in a little less than 110 overs.
"It was an incredible innings from two fighting blokes," McCullum told reporters after Williamson (242 not out) was named man-of-the-match. "This group of guys I think is a pretty special group.
"They work incredibly hard, they`re very disciplined they enjoy themselves as well they love representing New Zealand and feel very privileged to have the opportunity to be able to write some history as we go along.
"We have a long way to go in terms of where we want to get to but its nice when you tick off a few of those milestones and achievements along the way."
Sri Lanka had entered the final day needing a further 345 runs to achieve an unlikely victory, while New Zealand needed nine wickets.
McCullum, however, knew that Angelo Mathews had already told his team to go for the win on the final day, because as the Sri Lankan captain saw it, losing 1-0 or 2-0 was still a lost series.
"I thought they would be positive," McCullum said, before acknowledging the dismissal of Kumar Sangakkara and Mathews before lunch had swung the match firmly in their favour.
"The two big ones, Kumar and Angelo, both guys capable of winning games on their own. So to be able to get both of those guys was huge and certainly and at the lunch break we knew we were a big sniff of being able to close out the game.
"The guys kept hanging tough and that got the job done.
"It`s a great test win."