Fo­cused Tay­lor helps set Pak­istan big tar­get

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Ross Tay­lor shrugged off his eye prob­lems to score a su­perb un­beaten cen­tury as New Zealand set Pak­istan a for­mi­da­ble 369-run tar­get to win the sec­ond Test yes­ter­day. Tay­lor fin­ished 102 not out de­spite only be­ing cleared to play two days be­fore the Test af­ter scar­ring on his left eye threat­ened his vi­sion. He was due to have surgery to­mor­row.

New Zealand de­clared late on the fourth day in Hamil­ton at 313 for 5 and Pak­istan were one with­out loss af­ter fac­ing three overs be­fore stumps. Both sides vowed there would be no hold­ing back on the fi­nal day with Pak­istan need­ing to win to keep their world num­ber two rank­ing and New Zealand look­ing to im­prove on sev­enth place.

“All go­ing well that last ses­sion could be re­ally en­ter­tain­ing,” said Tay­lor, who was pleased he made the de­ci­sion to play. “There were def­i­nitely thoughts go­ing through my mind not to play so it was nice to draw on a bit of ex­pe­ri­ence-I’ve been in that sit­u­a­tion be­fore-and put the team in a good place.

“Prob­a­bly for the past year, for the first five to 10 balls of the in­nings I haven’t picked up the balls as I would have liked.”

WIN OR BUST

Pak­istan quick Mo­ham­mad Amir dis­missed talk of play­ing for a draw. “We like to be among the top teams in the world and we will try our best to re­tain that,” he said. “We will def­i­nitely try to go for the tar­get. The first ses­sion will be very im­por­tant.” The tourists will have to bet­ter the record fourth-in­nings suc­ces­ful run chase at Sed­don Park of 212 for 4 by Aus­tralia in 2000 to win on Tues­day’s fi­nal day and save the two-Test se­ries.

The high­est fourth-in­nings to­tal on the ground is 344 for 6 by Sri Lanka in a drawn Test nearly 26 years ago. New Zealand skip­per Kane Wil­liamson de­clared af­ter a trade­mark cut to the bound­ary from Tay­lor took him to his cen­tury.

Ear­lier Tom Latham laid the foun­da­tions for the dec­la­ra­tion with a bat­tling 80 in a wel­come re­turn to form and Wil­liamson made 42. Pak­istan made an early break­through when they dis­missed Jeet Raval for two with the New Zealand score on 11, but they struggled to as­sert them­selves de­spite the wicket con­tin­u­ing to show life.

SIDE-ON SUC­CESS

Wil­liamson and Latham fell in the mid­dle ses­sion, and Henry Ni­cholls (26) and Colin de Grand­homme (32) went af­ter the tea in­ter­val. New Zealand, hav­ing won the first Test, need only a draw to beat Pak­istan for the first time in 13 Test se­ries dat­ing back to 1985. Tay­lor and Latham had both struggled for runs through re­cent South Africa and In­dia tours as well as the first Test against Pak­istan. Tay­lor showed no sign of his vi­sion prob­lems when he opened his ac­count with a four off Im­ran Khan, set­ting the tone for an in­nings that con­tained 16 bound­aries.

He sur­vived an lbw ap­peal on 16 in what was oth­er­wise a chance­less knock. Tay­lor said he had changed his tech­nique to al­low for his vi­sion prob­lems and it paid off.

“I wanted to get a bit more side on. I didn’t go out there to play the cut shot any more than I have in the past. It’s just sur­pris­ing how I was a lit­tle more side-on that shot came nat­u­rally.”

Latham lived on the edge. He sur­vived a runout ap­peal and had a mo­ment of ap­pre­hen­sion when the big screen mis­tak­enly put up the word “out”. On 41 he was dropped by Sami As­lam.

But his luck de­serted him try­ing to fend off a Wa­hab Riaz bouncer and the ball looped off his gloves to Sar­fraz Ahmed be­hind the stumps.

The wick­et­keeper also snapped up Wil­liamson who feath­ered a good-length Im­ran de­liv­ery to break a 96-run stand with Latham. — AFP

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