Cricket: Taylor strikes rich vein

By David Leggat

Batsman had his luck yesterday, but in between near outs he looked in fine touch.

Ross Taylor. Photo / Getty Images
Ross Taylor. Photo / Getty Images

Ross Taylor last night demurred at the suggestion he may be in the prime batting form of his life.

In which case he's a tough taskmaster.

His 129 at the Basin Reserve yesterday, following 217 not out last week in the first test against the West Indies, demonstrated he is in a rich vein of form.

He anchored New Zealand's 307 for six at stumps, having been sent in on a green top pitch. In the process Taylor is chipping away at milestones, one of which he might have quietly run past his mentor Martin Crowe if they exchanged thoughts last night.

Taylor has already scored 362 runs in the series, for once out, overtaking Crowe's 328 in the 1987 rubber against the West Indies. Only Glenn Turner (672 runs) and Bevan Congdon (531) are ahead of him, and their runs came in the run-soaked five-test 1972 tour of the Caribbean.

It may be a small point, but they all count as Taylor sets about ensuring his most productive years lie ahead. Not that the first part of his career has been ordinary.

"I think I'm in the best mindset that I've ever been.

"Best form? No, there's been under- 17 and under-19 tournaments I've been pretty good at," he quipped.

There's no one point which has moved him up a gear.

"It's a combination of things. I'm always working at my game, talking to different individuals both in the setup and out of it.

"They've all contributed in some way - some big, some small - to help me get to where I'm at."

Taylor had his luck yesterday, dropped before he had scored, and again at 122 and 125, but in between he looked in fine touch, and paced himself nicely.

"I just try to keep the same tempo the whole time.

"At the start of the day I felt a little bit like Dunedin. But after 20-30 balls, I got to where I wanted to be."

He didn't feel particularly good yesterday either.

"It was more fatigue than anything. When I got to about 110, I got very tired very quickly. I had a very small lunch and I didn't have anything at tea. I felt okay but probably didn't have enough fuel in the tank."

Having parents Neil and Ann, who live in Masterton, in the crowd had him chuffed.

"They always come over the Rimutaka hills and I haven't scored one here for a while (since India, 2009), so it's nice to give them a hundred." Taylor admitted he does check averages and other statistical data, but put that in perspective.

"I'm not sure whether [2-year-old daughter] Mackenzie will care whether I average 46 or 42.

"You can average whatever you do now but it's what you end up with when you pull up stumps."

In which case, if you combine form, accumulated batting knowledge, experience and desire, Taylor, at 29, could be set for several fruitful years.

Chance for threepeat

* Should Ross Taylor hit a century in the third test at Hamilton next week he will join Mark Burgess as the only New Zealand batsmen to score hundreds in three successive tests

* Taylor is the seventh batsman to reach 4000 test runs, following Stephen Fleming (7172), Martin Crowe (5444), John Wright (5334), Nathan Astle (4702), Brendon McCullum (4672) and Dan Vettori (4508).

* Taylor's 10th test ton puts him behind only Crowe (17), Wright (12) and Astle (11) among New Zealand's centurymakers

* Since losing the captaincy in controversial circumstances a year ago, Taylor has hit 733 runs at 66.6 in 15 innings.

SCOREBOARD

- NZ Herald

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