Cricket: Ross Taylor breaks through, closes in on mentor Martin Crowe's centuries record

By Andrew Alderson at Seddon Park

Ross Taylor celebrates his 16th test century. Photo / www.photosport.co.nz
Ross Taylor celebrates his 16th test century. Photo / www.photosport.co.nz

Ross Taylor dissolved a wall of public doubt about his future by posting his 16th test century on the fourth day of the second match against Pakistan in Hamilton.

The bat was raised, the tongue was out.

His cut to the boundary behind point, the signature stroke in an unbeaten 102, left New Zealand poised to press for their first series victory against Pakistan in 31 years.

On a personal level, it brought Taylor within one century of mentor Martin Crowe's New Zealand record of 17. The mark also broke a New Zealand hundred drought which had extended to a seventh test.

The ability to respond to adversity tends to be the core characteristic that differentiates top sportspeople from their peers.

Since the Zimbabwe tour, Taylor had scored 140 test runs at an average of 14 from 11 innings.

His form slump needed suturing early in the home summer to offer the team their best chance of success. Hey, presto.

As far as the Hamilton-based Taylor was concerned, the triumph only brought one downside.

"I got a text from my wife saying 'sorry, but we watched it at home. I think the neighbours heard us celebrating... and there's no dinner'."

The 32-year-old will undergo surgery tomorrow to remove the pterygium growth on his left eye which has hampered his vision, a pre-requisite to sustaining his reputation as a world-class No.4 batsman and slip fielder.

Taylor's resilience at the crease wasn't based on will alone. He kept fresh eye drops handy, as he did a year ago in Perth on his way to 290, the highest score by an overseas test batsmen in Australia. He also tinkered with his technique by getting more side-on in his stance.

The runs started flowing.

Seven boundaries were slapped between point and gully and seven were leg glanced. The speed of Taylor's hands, combined with a savage intent made captivating viewing. He appeared to lean forward at the point of delivery, but rocked back where necessary. He copped blows to his right hand as a result, one of which drew blood.

"I put some tape on it, it's alright," he said.

Taylor was given out lbw to Riaz on 16, but survived courtesy of a no-ball on review. The ball tracker also showed the delivery going over the stumps.

"Since the last test I was wondering whether to play [this one]. I'm happy I made that decision," Taylor smiled.

"I've been struggling to pick up the first 5-10 balls of my innings as well as I would have liked."

"I also got a bit more side on. I didn't go out to play the cut any more than the past, but it came naturally.

However, a 'crisis' loomed.

"I'm running out of eyedrops. I have to get some more from the optometrist or supermarket soon."

- NZ Herald

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