Crowe's pep talk spurred Taylor on to century

MARK GEENTY AND MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 04/12/2013
Martin Crowe
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ALL CLASS: Martin Crowe.

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A pep talk from his mentor, Martin Crowe, spurred Ross Taylor to his drought-breaking century. Now Taylor has Crowe's New Zealand record in his sights, even if he wasn't saying so.

Taylor notched his ninth test century in Dunedin yesterday, against a struggling West Indies, to draw level with Stephen Fleming in equal fourth spot on the New Zealand charts.

Only Crowe (17), John Wright (12) and Nathan Astle (11) have more test tons.

It was just over a year and 14 innings since Taylor's previous test century, in Sri Lanka, and a chat with Crowe on match eve did the trick.

"Hogan [Crowe] has been very good, just telling me to relax and get out there and enjoy the battle.

"There's different times during the innings where you need to do that and it was a nice timely reminder," Taylor said.

"Cricket is a simple game but sometimes your mind clutters and sometimes it is as simple as keeping balanced and watching the ball and play straight it becomes as easy as that."

With four more home tests against West Indies and India this summer, then a full tour of West Indies next year, Taylor could cruise into double figures in a hurry if this form continues.

Just 29 and with only 51 tests to his name, Taylor has a test century target in mind. "Yep, but I keep that to myself."

It's a safe bet the number 17 features in there somewhere.

Meanwhile, Tino Best slamming the ball into the ground and screaming in frustration summed up the West Indies' opening offering to the test summer.

They figuratively didn't turn up on the pitch for yesterday's day one of the first cricket test against New Zealand at University Oval, then they literally didn't turn up off it to explain why.

Hard working and heart-on-the-sleeve quick Best aside, the West Indies bowlers didn't deserve to be called an attack.

Best's young new-ball colleague Shannon Gabriel battled for both line and length and dished up a smorgasbord of boundary balls.

He was hit for 17 fours and a six from his 17 overs, conceding 98 runs at nearly a run a ball.

Best was aggressive, industrious and deserved plenty of credit for continuing to run in hard, but he too was guilty of delivering too many four balls.

Captain Darren Sammy was largely ineffective too though did end Peter Fulton's near four hour stay on 61.

The West Indies trip to New Zealand has been dogged with bad luck since before they arrived; Chris Gayle, their star was injured, his replacement Kraigg Brathwaite hasn't turned up, two more fell ill and others battled jet-lag and struggles with sleep after such a short turn-around from their recent tour to India.

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