Taylor’s rich run of form
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.