NZ ODI record within Taylor's reach

Today might be the last time we see Ross Taylor out in the middle at the University of Otago Oval.

The 34-year-old's career is winding to a close. He is still very focused on making the World Cup squad and the Boxing Day test in Australia is a ''big carrot'' as well.

After that, well, only Taylor knows.

Black Caps batsman Ross Taylor during a net session yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Ross Taylor. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.

If it is to be his last international game at the venue, then he could bow out in style. Taylor is in reach of a significant milestone.

The Black Caps maestro needs another 51 runs to take over from Stephen Fleming as New Zealand's leading scorer in one-day internationals.

Of course, the No4 batsman needs a couple of his team-mates to get out first.

''Guppy hasn't really given me much of an opportunity in the series to date,'' Taylor joked in reference to Martin Guptill's back-to-back centuries in the first two games.

''It would mean a lot. Flem [Fleming] was someone I looked up to as a player growing up and when I first made the Black Caps as well.

''My mentor, Martin Crowe, used to always say try to get these records but you are just setting it up for the next guy to come along.

''Hopefully, in years to come, Guppy and Kane [Williamson] can beat it as well.''

The prolific right-hander is poised on 7957 career ODI runs. If he bats anywhere near as well as last time he was in Dunedin, it ought to take him about 30 minutes to eclipse the record during the third and final ODI against Bangladesh.

Last summer he engineered one of the great comebacks. He carried the home side to a remarkable victory against England with an even more remarkable innings.

He swatted an undefeated 181 and spent a good chunk of the innings barely able to run having injured a muscle in his leg.

Those injuries take longer to get over these days. But he is still hitting the ball as well as ever and appreciates his time in the middle a little more knowing the end is nearing.

Black Caps opener Martin Guptill dispatches a delivery during a net session at the University of Otago Oval yesterday. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Black Caps opener Martin Guptill dispatches a delivery during a net session at the University of Otago Oval yesterday. Photo: Gregor Richardson

''When you do go to a ground, you know it is going to be the last or the second or third-last time you go there, so you try not to take it for granted.

''I've had some success here [in Dunedin]. Obviously, last time was something I'll never forget.

''I've got a few runs in test matches and things here. Got my first double hundred, so it is a ground that has some special memories in it for sure.''

Kane Williamson is being rested for the match, so the top order will be rejigged.

Colin Munro joins the squad and will probably open alongside Guptill, who has been in tremendous touch.

Henry Nicholls appears poised to slot in at No3. He has proven to be a very versatile player for the Black Caps.

Tim Southee, who has endured a prolonged form slump in the format and has seemingly slipped behind Matt Henry in the pecking order, may get a run. The selectors will need to see him in action before they name their World Cup squad.

It is the Black Caps' last hit-out before the World Cup, and they have already clinched the three-game series 2-0, so today's fixture is a good opportunity to test different approaches. Perhaps bat first and see how many they can put on the board.

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