Ross Taylor: Going past his mentor's records
An innings of impact to force a result
In the Test which witnessed a rain washout for the first two days without a ball being bowled, getting the result was a tough equation. Though New Zealand bowlers were successful in restricting the visitors for a modest score of 211, the time was already approaching stumps on the third day!
To make matters worse, Bangladeshi bowlers struck twice removing both Kiwi openers when the score was just 8 and just before the stumps of the third day. It was then Taylor joined his captain Kane Williamson and ensured no further damage to his team before the stumps.
On the fourth day, Taylor was dropped twice in the first 15 minutes itself of the morning session. But he appeared unfazed by those reprieves and seemed to be on a mission i.e. to score rapidly and give his team a good first innings lead and a chance to force a result.
First, he shared 172 partnership for the third wicket with Williamson who dared his shoulder injury to score 74 and then he took the visiting team bowlers to the cleaners in the company of Henry Nicholls who himself scored a brisk 107.
Taylor reached his half century briskly taking just 61 balls and went even more quickly for the next fifty, consuming just 36 balls to get there - he struck six fours and three sixes during this period.
He then maintained the pace for the rest of his innings as well, finishing with 19 fours and four sixes, before getting caught behind in the 84th over just after completing his third double hundred.
As Taylor put it at the end of fourth day's play, his fast paced innings was an effort to earn the right for his team to dictate the terms in the last session. He had helped NZ to score at the run rate of 5.09!
By the time NZ declared at the score of 432/6, they had not only gained the first innings lead of 221 runs but also ensured Bangladesh bat for more than an hour on the fourth day itself. Kiwi bowlers made the most of the time by taking 3 wickets giving away just 80 runs before the stumps!
On the fifth day, the pitch still helping the bowlers, it was just a matter of time for NZ pace bowlers Trent Boult and Neil Wagner who took his seventh five wicket haul, to script an innings and 12 runs victory for their team. Taylor was rightly awarded "Player of the Match" for his innings which created a strong chance to force a favorable result for his team.
Bettering his mentor's records
On personal front as well, the innings was very important for Taylor as he went past his late mentor Martin Crowe's 17 Test hundreds during this innings against Bangladesh. Crowe's 17 hundreds was a NZ record since 1995 till 2018. Crowe had died fighting cancer in March 2016.
Though Ross had equaled Crowe way back in December 2017, there was a long wait since then. Meanwhile Kiwi skipper Williamson went past both Taylor and Crowe becoming the owner of most number of hundreds for NZ.
As he touched 100-run mark in the fourth day innings at Hamilton, Taylor bettered another Crowe's record of scoring most number of runs at the Basin Reserve ground. The Kiwi No. 4 now has 1226 runs at Hamilton which is also the most by a Kiwi on any international venue.
Taylor at 35, is still going strong with 92 Tests under his belt amassing 6727 runs at an average of 46.71. He is all set to reach the club of 100+ Tests for NZ and is aiming at going past his former skipper Stephen Fleming's Test run-tally of 7172, which is the most by a New Zealander!