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Cricket: Taylor looks the best of a sorry bunch

Ross Taylor is the only batsman to come through the two tests against England with any respectability.

In four innings he produced two half-centuries of 66 at Lord's and 70 in 159 minutes at Headingley, which at least offered the prospect of saving the test.

As gloom enveloped the ground, he played with discipline, working the ball between cover and backward point. He escaped an lbw on 47 and had a caught behind decision off Swann reversed at 60.

For his efforts he has bruising to his right bicep, which he described as "like a little tattoo, three next to each other, 1cm apart", but at least he resisted.

"Cricket's a tough game. You nick off every now and then but as a batting unit we've got to be a lot tougher on ourselves. We've let ourselves down in the last three innings," he said.

"My approach was to try to get to the end of the day to give ourselves a chance. I was disappointed to get out after doing the hard graft."

Questions over New Zealand's inability to bat more than a couple of sessions away against England will endure.

After a decent home series, the visitors suddenly lack the skills to cope with either Graeme Swann when he gets near the left-arm footmarks or England's pace trio.

Eyes will be trained on how the batting department, led by Bob Carter, counters such regular implosions.

The test futures of Martin Guptill, Peter Fulton and Dean Brownlie will come in for scrutiny ahead of the next series against Bangladesh in October and the home summer against the West Indies and India.

Guptill is likely to be forced to concentrate on limited overs for the immediate future with a fit BJ Watling worthy of retention and Brendon McCullum moving back up the order.

There are few alternatives to Fulton other than returning to Aaron Redmond, Michael Papps, Daniel Flynn or perhaps experimenting with Jeet Raval.

Brownlie showed resolve during the second innings at Headingley only to get a brute from Steve Finn which he gloved to gully, but the way Swann bowled him between bat and pad in the first innings was nightmarish.

- NZ Herald

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