Batsman's heroics get NZ home

Ross Taylor played through the pain to get New Zealand home over England. Photo: Getty Images
Ross Taylor played through the pain to get New Zealand home over England. Photo: Getty Images
England's Jonny Bairstow plays a shot during his innings of 138 at the University Oval yesterday....
England's Jonny Bairstow plays a shot during his innings of 138 at the University Oval yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
The crowd makes the most of fine weather at yesterday’s match. Thirty-one people were ejected for...
The crowd makes the most of fine weather at yesterday’s match. Thirty-one people were ejected for disorderly behaviour and intoxication, police said. Three people were arrested for trespass. Photo: Peter McIntosh

Ross Taylor needed a ride on the drinks cart to get to the press conference.

He looked more like a 70-year-old with gout than a sprightly 33-year-old while limping the last 10 or so metres on his own legs

He had, of course, just engineered a remarkable comeback and had played while injured for a good chunk of the innings.

But that did not stop the Black Caps batting maestro clouting an undefeated 181 to rescue the home side from a near impossible spot last evening.

In front of a capacity University Oval crowd of 5432, Taylor played his greatest one-day innings, and perhaps the greatest by a New Zealander, to steer his side to an unlikely five-wicket win.

England had piled on 335 for nine and removed both openers without scoring.

''We won chasing, and being there at the end [means] it would have to be up there,'' he said when asked if he considered it his best knock.

''It hasn't sunk in - but after winning a game like that we still have one more game to go.''

The series is locked 2-2 with the decider in Christchurch on Saturday.

Whether Taylor is fit for that match looks pretty dicey.

He re-injured his thigh during his innings and also started cramping up.

Taylor got to the wicket with his team in desperate trouble at two for two.

When Kane Williamson was given out caught behind for 45 - even though it appeared he missed the ball - England had seemingly reached match point and was on course to wrap up the series 3-1 with a game to play.

But Taylor had another script in mind and he found a willing partner in Tom Latham.

The duo teamed up in Hamilton earlier in the series with a match-winning stand of 178 for the fourth wicket.

It was a record fourth-wicket stand between New Zealand and England but did not last long, with Taylor and Latham eclipsing the mark with 187.

Latham holed out on 71 with victory in sight but Taylor stayed around until the end. Henry Nicholls hit a six to win the match with three balls remaining.

''Once we got to about 160-170 . . . if we could bat really well we were definitely a chance. Up until then it was just batting and trying to get us into a position to win.''

Earlier, Jonny Bairstow smashed 138 from 106 deliveries in a wonderful display of power-hitting, while Joe Root played a major supporting role with a classy 102.

The pair put on record second-wicket stand between England and New Zealand of 190.

The home side rallied following the departure of Bairstow, claiming six wickets for 21 runs. Legspinner Ish Sodhi grabbed four for 58.

But it looked as if it was not going to be New Zealand's day when Colin Munro was trapped lbw for a golden duck.

The worst part about his dismissal was the wasted review which showed the ball hitting middle stump three-quarters of the way up.

Williamson could have used that review 15 overs later when his innings was cut short.

But New Zealand was also the architect of its own bad luck.

Bairstow was gifted a second chance when he was dropped on 74 by Mitchell Santner at cover.

He clubbed another 64 runs, including a massive six which measured in at 113m and almost cleared the grandstand.

Root does not have the power game of Bairstow, but he displayed enormous skill on track to his 11th century.

He even played a reverse scoop and that may be the first time that shot has been seen at the venue.

Add a Comment

 

xmas_banner_620_x_95.jpg

See more great gift ideas !   For Her  |  For Him  |  For Families  |  For Kids  | 

xmas_banner2.jpg