It took almost 20 years for Pakistan's Hanif Mohammad to score his triple hundred (337 against the West Indies at Bridgetown, Barbados in 1958) after Len Hutton's 364 in 1938. That was the longest gap between the two triple hundreds by two different batsmen.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum followed Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara in the same month to make the gap the shortest ever. "The reason for batsmen not being able to score triple tons freely during our time was the fact that the wickets were not covered in those days. Thus, the bowlers were given great chances to dominate," said Hanif over the telephone from Karachi yesterday.
The 79-year-old batting great added: "There were no helmets and other protective gear for the batsmen and they were scared of facing fast bowlers. Now, batsmen are well protected all over their body and this is an advantage. It makes them bat freely.
"With covered wickets, batsmen are able to stay at the crease longer on good wickets." Hanif, who is battling cancer, had another reason for triple centuries being scored regularly: "The another reason being an increase in the number of Test matches. In the olden days, there were fewer Test matches.
Now, with Test series being held more frequently, the players get a bigger opportunity to perform." McCullum went past Martin Crowe on New Zealand's chart of individual scorers. Crowe's highest was 299 at the same venue against Sri Lanka in 1991.
"Martin has regretted all these years over not being able to score a first triple century," Ms Louise Henderson, his manager said from Auckland. "Martin was interviewed on a breakfast TV show yesterday morning and he told viewers how he felt when he was dismissed for 299. He has great respect for Brendon and admiration for his endurance," she added.