Tay­lor’s rich run of form

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

The mile­stones keep com­ing for run-scor­ing ma­chine Ross Tay­lor.

Tay­lor equalled the New Zea­land record of six con­sec­u­tive one-day in­ter­na­tional half­cen­turies and then be­came the first Kiwi to score 20 ODI hun­dreds en route to a clas­si­cal 137 in the third and fi­nal match against Sri Lanka at Sax­ton Oval in Nel­son yes­ter­day.

‘‘It was nice to get the 20th hun­dred, I would have taken that at the start of my ca­reer,’’ Tay­lor said. ‘‘I’m get­ting old, so hope­fully I’ve got a few more in me.’’

Tay­lor strode to the crease with New Zea­land in early trou­ble un­der clear blue skies be­fore a near-ca­pac­ity crowd, at 31-2 in the fifth over af­ter La­sith Malinga re­moved open­ers Martin Gup­till and Colin Munro.

He started streak­ily, al­most run­ning him­self out without scor­ing af­ter push­ing to mid-off, but the throw was wide and went to the bound­ary for over­throws. He al­most chopped onto his stumps, too, as the Black Caps strug­gled early with a slower-than-ex­pected Sax­ton Oval pitch.

But from there it was es­sen­tially nor­mal ser­vice re­sumed, as Tay­lor and Wil­liamson (55 off 65 balls) worked the Sri Lankan bowlers for sin­gles in­ter­spersed with enough bound­aries to main­tain a healthy run-rate.

As is typ­i­cally the case with the key New Zea­land pair, runs were ac­cu­mu­lated with min­i­mal fuss and be­fore you knew it the 50 part­ner­ship was up, the 25th time they had done so in ODI cricket.

Wil­liamson was caught in the deep, end­ing the part­ner­ship at 116, but Tay­lor pushed on with Henry Ni­cholls, al­most play­ing with Sri Lankan cap­tain La­sith Malinga with his abil­ity to find the gaps for sin­gles and bound­aries.

Tay­lor brought up the ton with one of many sin­gles down the ground, greeted by a Nel­son crowd ap­pre­ci­at­ing it was wit­ness­ing one of the great New Zea­land bats­men in full flight.

From there he un­leashed – all four of his sixes came post-100 – and had the per­fect foil in Ni­cholls who was quick out of the blocks and played su­perbly all around the ground.

When Tay­lor went – af­ter a record fourth-wicket part­ner­ship against Sri Lanka of 154 from 120 balls – Ni­cholls pushed into fifth gear and stormed to his first ODI ton, swat­ting Malinga over back­ward square leg for the sec­ond of three sixes to bring it up off just 71 balls, the sixth quick­est ever for New Zea­land.

He fin­ished un­beaten on 124 from 80 balls, an as­ton­ish­ing knock that con­tin­ued his ex­cel­lent sum­mer.

New Zea­land’s to­tal of 364-4 was the high­est team score from 11 ODIS at Sax­ton Oval.

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