Ross Taylor has walked out to bat 504 times for New Zealand since making his ODI debut against West Indies in 2006. After Taylor announced yesterday that he will be walking away from international cricket this summer, Cameron McMillan looks back on his 11 best knocks … so far.
11) 47* v India, test, Southampton, 2021
Taylor has passed 50 for New Zealand on 133 occasions across all three forms (40 tons, 93 half centuries) but this was not one of them. However, it could go down as his most memorable innings because he and Kane Williamson got the team across the line to win the World Test Championship final. Taylor had the honour of hitting the winning runs when he guided a Mohammed Shami delivery to the square leg boundary. The pair scored 96 runs in 28.3 overs on the final session of a test match to win a major trophy. The stuff of legends.
10) 80 v Auckland, Twenty20, Pukekura Park, 2010
Yes this is meant to be knocks for New Zealand but I'm changing the rules mid-list. I just wanted to get a domestic innings in there as Taylor has always been proud to represent the green of Central Districts and this was something special.
In the HRV Cup Twenty20 final with a spot in the Champions League tournament up for grabs, Taylor took control of the match smashing 80 in just 30 balls including eight sixes at the famously small New Plymouth ground to set up a massive total. Central finished on 206 for six with Taylor out from the final ball of the innings and Auckland were bowled out for 128 as he led the Stags to a domestic title.
9) 104 v Pakistan, test, Dubai, 2014
Taylor has scored bigger centuries but this was in New Zealand's second innings which eventually saved the second test and the series. Facing spinners Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah on a day four/five pitch – the pair took all nine of the New Zealand second innings wickets – Taylor battled away and ensured New Zealand set Pakistan a decent enough total that they ran out of time to reach. After losing the first test in Abu Dhabi, the Black Caps went from possibly going 2-0 down to earning a famous drawn series a week later with an innings victory in Sharjah.
8) 128* v Sri Lanka, ODI, Napier, 2006
A maiden century in just his third ODI foreshadowed what was to come. He didn't let pesky cramp stop him from reaching three figures for the first time at his 'home ground' (it's still a decent drive from Masterton). Taylor and the Black Caps were to be outdone that day by another ODI great, Sanath Jayasuriya scoring one of his 28 career tons.
7) 217* v West Indies, test, Dunedin, 2013
When Taylor made his test debut in 2007, New Zealand batsmen had reached the double century mark on 14 occasions. That number has doubled over his career with Taylor on the list three times. This was his first time past 200 as he spent more than eight hours in the middle to become the 11th New Zealander to reach the milestone.
It should have led to Brendon McCullum's first win as captain but Darren Bravo made his own maiden double ton in the third innings of the match before rain denied New Zealand the final 33 runs for victory.
6) 154* v England, test, Manchester, 2008
Taylor's first overseas test century. He has scored six more outside of New Zealand since, brought up in just his seventh test. He topped Martin Crowe's Old Trafford record score by a New Zealander of 115 in 1994, and moved to fourth on the list of highest New Zealand test innings in England.
It included five sixes – an early glimpse of the big hitting he would produce over his career. Despite holding a first innings lead of 179, the Black Caps lost the test by four wickets.
5) 131 v West Indies, test, Hamilton, 2013
Taylor has previously picked this innings as one of his best from a technical standpoint in a series where he dominated the West Indians, scoring 495 runs across five innings including the previously mentioned double. This one he had to work harder for, his slowest test century in terms of strike rate, with Sunil Narine (6-91) spinning the ball both ways. The hard graft paid off as the pace bowlers ripped through West Indies to set up a 2-0 series win.
4) 142 v Sri Lanka, test, Colombo, 2012
Taylor joined Williamson at 14-2 and he departed at 276 after confronting Rangana Herath in home conditions. Taylor could have had a shot at a ton in the second innings but was run out after a mix-up with Southee. Things weren't going great off the field with Taylor ousted as captain shortly after.
3) 131* v Pakistan, ODI World Cup, Pallekele, 2011
A classic case of battling back into form and then cashing in late in the innings. Taylor wasn't in the best form before the World Cup group match in Sri Lanka with five single-digit scores in his previous six matches. But he reached his first ODI ton in two and a half years with the first 76 runs from 111 balls, followed by one of the most spectacular displays of clean hitting.
He hit six sixes and four fours with 55 from his final 13 balls, making the most of wayward bowling from Shoaib Akhtar and Abdul Razzaq. Akhtar's ninth over went for 28 runs; Razzaq's fourth went for 30. New Zealand made 92 runs from their last four overs and 139 from their last 10 to win the group match by 110 runs.
2) 181* v England, ODI, Dunedin, 2018
Taylor came to the wicket in a crisis at 2-2 in the third over chasing 336 for victory. He finished with an ODI career best 181 not out off 147 balls - the highest score at the ground - eclipsing his career-best 131 not out. His innings looked to have ended when he appeared to suffer a recurrence of his right thigh injury as he stretched to avoid getting run out on 109. That just set up a thrilling second half to the knock as he smashed 72 more runs off 41 balls amid hobbling between the wickets and getting medical treatment in the no-runner era.
New Zealand won with three balls to spare and Taylor at the non-striker's ended up with six sixes and 17 fours to his name. One of New Zealand's greatest ODI innings.
1) 290 v Australia, test, Perth, 2015
The highest score by a visiting player in Australia (take that, Tip Foster) and quite a few decent players have arrived in Terra Australis with pads on and a bat in hand. Yes the Waca pitch was flat but he was still facing a lineup of Starc, Hazlewood, Johnson, and Lyon (and four overs of Steve Smith). He had 300 in his sights, and the chance to overtake McCullum's record 302, when he swept hard at Lyon to be well caught, running in from deep mid wicket by [pub quiz question alert] substitute fielder Jon Wells. Taylor deserved to reach 300, but like his mentor Martin Crowe, it wasn't to be. Regardless, it was his best innings for his country. He added 36 not out in the second dig for a nice aggregate of 326.