Cricket: Ross Taylor century sets up test

By David Leggat in Hamilton

Taylor was impressive in his fourth ton in Hamilton and one which is sure to give him immense satisfaction. Photo / David Kerr
Taylor was impressive in his fourth ton in Hamilton and one which is sure to give him immense satisfaction. Photo / David Kerr

A top notch declaration from Kane Williamson has set up the prospect of a cracking final day of the second test against Pakistan at Seddon Park tomorrow.

Williamson left Pakistan 369 to win in 98 overs and they will start tomorrow at one for none.

For a while it looked as if his mind might have been more on leaving his declaration until tomorrow as Ross Taylor closed in on his 16th test century and wicketkeeper BJ Watling made five runs off his first 33 balls.

Instead Taylor completed got his ton, appropriately with a late cut to the fence, a shot which had been a prosperous avenue for him, and Williamson waved his batsmen in.

''All through the afternoon session I asked if there was a message. They just said bat," Taylor quipped.

So he did and he now sits one century behind his mentor Martin Crowe's New Zealand record.

You would not put much on Pakistan's prospects, but for one thing: they need to win the test to square the series and thus preserve their world No 2 test ranking.

That will be a hugely motivating factor on a pitch which still helps the seamers while the ball is new; less so later. Taylor neatly described it as a ''dot, dot, four, play and miss" type of pitch.

They have two key batsmen in captain Azhar Ali and Younis Khan due runs, and a gifted find at No 3 in Babar Azam. Pakistan won't die wondering.

The highest fourth innings total to win a test in Hamilton was Australia's 212 for four 16 years ago; the largest Sri Lanka's 344 for six in 1991.

''All three results are possible going into day five, and all going well you never know that last session could be very entertaining," Taylor said.

''The first 10 overs (today) will set the tone for the match."

The luckless Mohammad Amir, who reckoned with a grin he's had 13 catches dropped off him in eight tests this year, pushed Pakistan's case.

''The (No 2) ranking is very important and achieved after a lot of hard work.

"We like to be among the top teams of the world and we will try our best to retain it."

Taylor was impressive in his fourth ton in Hamilton and one which is sure to give him immense satisfaction.

He goes under the surgeon's knife tomorrow (crrt) to repair a left eye issue. This innings will do wonders for his self confidence after a lean period in South Africa and India.

Excluding two centuries against lightweight Zimbabwe in July, his last time past 50 was 290 against Australia in Perth a year ago.

But he scotched the idea of any regrets at not delaying the eye surgery to play the Chappell Hadlee Trophy series in Australia next week.

''I need it done," Taylor said of the surgery.

''The later I delay it, it gets closer to the possibility of missing the whole Bangaldesh series. So there's a lot of what ifs."

He cut decisively and with power, profited from his leg glance and was happy going through the square leg-mid wicket arc.

Taylor arrived at 107 for two, New Zealand leading by 162 and he ensured there would be no alarms.

He survived a DRS review for lbw against Wahab Riaz on 16, who overstepped; and he took two painful blows on his right hand from Imran Khan and Amir.

But he anchored the innings with a string of useful stands, the highest being 60 with Henry Nicholls for the fourth wicket; the best 52 with Tom Latham, for the third, Latham making a tidy 80.

There could be a big payoff today - a 2-0 series win sounds better than 1-0.

''They'll come out fighting. They are not No 2 in the world for no reason," Taylor said of Pakistan.

- NZ Herald

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