Cricket: Three-tons Taylor basking in glory of golden run at crease

By David Leggat

New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor salutes teammates and the Seddon Park crowd after a stirring performance to notch his third century against the West Indies and set up a 2-0 series victory. Photo / Getty Images
New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor salutes teammates and the Seddon Park crowd after a stirring performance to notch his third century against the West Indies and set up a 2-0 series victory. Photo / Getty Images

Sport has enough tough times that it's important to savour the good moments. Ross Taylor should have a rosy glow about him.

Not that he'll need it, but a thumb through cricket's record book will give him an extra incentive when he walks out to bat against India at Eden Park in February. With three hundreds in his last three tests, Taylor can join some of the great names with a fourth in successive matches.

That has been achieved only 15 times, the roll of honour including names such as Don Bradman (twice), Everton Weekes, Neil Harvey, Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis and Kumar Sangakkara.

Only four have gone beyond that - Bradman, inevitably (six), Kallis, Mohammad Yousuf and Gautam Gambhir (all five).

It has been a special series for Taylor. Consider that before the West Indies arrived he had not scored a test century since his final match in charge, in Colombo last November.

Now only Martin Crowe and John Wright have scored more for New Zealand; only Mark Burgess has made three in successive tests before; Andrew Jones and Glenn Turner are the only other New Zealanders to make more than 400 runs in a three-test series and he came within a six of eclipsing John R Reid's calendar record.

Among the features of his performance has been the fact he has hit 56 fours and just two sixes, both straight hits off Darren Sammy at Seddon Park on Saturday, and both once the hundred had been locked in.

No sign of the old slog-sweep. That's been put in the cupboard, but for how long?

"Ask me on Boxing Day," he quipped, referring to the start of the ODI series against the West Indies at Eden Park. "It's definitely intentional, yes. I'm not sure my T20 coaches will be happy if I said I'd put it away.

"Test cricket is sometimes not about the shots you play but the shots you put away and that's definitely been a mindset of mine."

Only Andrew Jones (1469 minutes, against Sri Lanka in 1991) and Mark Richardson (1313 minutes against England in 2004) have batted longer in a three-test rubber than Taylor's 1227 minutes.

His average is up to 47.51, higher than any New Zealander with 30 or more test innings.

Of the three centuries - 217 not out at University Oval, 129 at the Basin Reserve and Saturday's 131 - the last was "definitely the hardest one".

"It's hard to go past the 200 but this was the most challenging of the three [because of] the [Sunil] Narine factor and I've never batted this long before and it'd be a lie to say I haven't been a little bit tired. It's nice to still trust the game plan and still go out and bat."

Taylor has experienced high and low points in his career. He realises his royal run of form won't remain intact for the rest of his career - it's important he makes the most of it.

- NZ Herald

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