David Leggat on sport

David Leggat is a Herald sport writer

David Leggat: Taylor haunts Black Caps yet again

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Jerome Taylor bowls during the opening day of the second cricket Test match against New Zealand. Photo / AP
Jerome Taylor bowls during the opening day of the second cricket Test match against New Zealand. Photo / AP

The last time New Zealand clapped eyes on Jerome Taylor he was belting them about Dunedin's University Oval en route to a maiden test century.

That was late in 2008 when, batting at No 8, his run-a-ball 106, as part of a 153-run stand with Shiv Chanderpaul, helped pull the West Indies from a dicey situation and ensure a draw.

Now, after a four and a half year absence from the international stage, Taylor's class has added fresh penetration to the West Indies attack.

His four for 34 spearheaded their running through New Zealand for 221 on the first day of the second test at Port-of-Spain today.

That comes after an impressive display of control in unhelpful conditions in the first test loss in Jamaica. Taylor's 37-16-65-4 for the match brought back control so badly missing from the seamers during their tour to New Zealand last summer.

Jimmy Neesham, BJ Watling and Ish Sodhi were whisked out in similar fashion, edging catches behind the wicket when pushing away from the body at deliveries swinging away in the space of 16 balls. Suddenly 192 for four became 199 for seven and the shape of the game had changed significantly.

Taylor's most celebrated performance was ripping England out for 51 on his home ground at Sabina Park in early 2009. Taylor's five for 11 - Strauss, Cook, Pietersen, Collingwood and Prior, no mean haul - set up an innings and 23-run win.

Nine months later he was gone, bedevilled by injury, and that seemed his lot. For a long time it appeared to have brought a premature end on a burgeoning career, which began 11 years ago.

Instead Taylor is back, still just 29, and setting high standards for the West Indian seamers.

As for New Zealand, Hamish Rutherford fared no better than Peter Fulton at the top of the order, 22 balls over three before an edge to slip, and had Ross Taylor not been badly missed in consecutive balls on 13 and 17, 221 would have been substantially trimmed.

Trent Boult's peach to remove Chris Gayle before stumps slightly redressed things. But New Zealand have plenty to do in the coming days to keep their nose in front in the series.

- NZ Herald

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