Cricket: Back in form Taylor enjoys batting blitz

By David Leggat

Former skipper happy to play second fiddle while he prepares for his return to test arena.

Ross Taylor reckons he had "the best seat in the house" while his captaincy successor Brendon McCullum went ballistic against England in Napier.

McCullum's 73 off 36 balls flayed the England attack in the second ODI, dominating a 100-run stand in 53 balls with Taylor.

However Taylor's century, his seventh ODI ton, might in time come to be seen as the more significant of the two.

His form since returning from his self-imposed leave from the national team after losing the captaincy to McCullum in December has been scratchy.

T20 is not the easiest version of the game to find your touch again. Although it wasn't his finest innings, Taylor acknowledged the importance it could have a few weeks down the line.

The three-test series starts in Dunedin on March 6. Shorn of opener Martin Guptill through injury, and with McCullum set to switch to a middle-order role, New Zealand desperately needs a Taylor in prime form to shore up a fluid batting group.

"There's a lot of emotions going through your mind and body. With what's gone on it was nice to know I can still bat," Taylor said of his century yesterday.

"I still didn't feel great but it's even more satisfying to score runs when you don't feel 100 per cent."

Taylor spent three hours in the middle of McLean Park, just what he needed.

"That's invaluable time as test preparation. Spending time at the crease will be good, but test matches are totally different to a flat Napier wicket," he added.

As McCullum found his range, Taylor, who can be a devastating attacker himself, said there was "no use" trying to compete with McCullum in that form. "I just got to the other end and watched the fireworks."

Taylor singled out the first 10 overs of each innings as key areas for New Zealand if they are to bounce back and clinch the ANZ international series at Eden Park tomorrow night.

New Zealand were tied down early in their innings by demanding new-ball bowling from Jimmy Anderson and Steven Finn and, later, they couldn't get a breakthrough as England openers Alastair Cook and Ian Bell laid the groundwork for a comfortable eight-wicket win.

"England's confidence will be sky high and it's up to individuals to step up. All the players are raring to go, hopefully they'll be a good crowd and we can play some good cricket."

- NZ Herald

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