Cricket: Taylor's comeback continues

Ross Taylor of the Stags batting during the Plunket Shield match today. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Ross Taylor of the Stags batting during the Plunket Shield match today. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Ross Taylor's comeback tour continued at Eden Park's outer oval today, where the former New Zealand skipper watched Auckland take charge against Plunket Shield leaders Central Districts.

Taylor returned from his self-imposed exile against Canterbury last week, scoring 56 runs in his side's victory, and he again appeared short of form on the first day's play today.

After being sent in by Auckland captain Gareth Hopkins, the Stags struggled to impose themselves on fourth-placed Auckland and limped to 233 all out. By stumps, the hosts had reduced the arrears to 91 runs and will take seven wickets in hand into tomorrow's second day.

With most of the interest surrounding Taylor as he prepares for next month's home series against England, the small crowd at Eden Park No 2 didn't have long to wait to see him in action.

Chris Martin and Matt Quinn combined to remove the Stags' openers, bringing Tayor to the crease in the eighth over and with the score on 19-2. Taylor spent nearly an hour in the middle but had just 21 runs to his name when he was trapped in front by allrounder Colin de Grandhomme.

CD captain Kieran Noema-Barnett was the only one of Taylor's teammates to enjoy any success with the bat, scoring 67 as Michael Bates' 4-44 and Martin's 3-67 helping to skittle the Stags and earn Auckland four bowling bonus points.

Auckland had less trouble on the Eden Park wicket, with 23-year-old opener Michael Guptill-Bunce being run out by Doug Bracewell when three runs short of a maiden half century.

Tim McIntosh (25) and Reece Young (10) both fell victim to Bevan Small, but Craig Cachopa (46no) and Hopkins (10no) will resume tomorrow morning after seeing their side to 142-3 at the close of play.

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