Taylor's links with Martin Crowe getting bigger
MATT RICHENS IN DUNEDIN
New Zealand cricket's latest double-centurion Ross Taylor and New Zealand's best batsmen Martin Crowe are linked through friendship, a mentor-protege relationship, and now by numbers.
Taylor's 217no against the West Indies in Dunedin yesterday helped New Zealand reach 609-9 declared before Trent Boult and Tim Southee dismissed an opener apiece to leave the tourists reeling at 67-2 at stumps on day two.
Taylor's eight-hour stand also pushed his batting average from 42.81 to 45.36 - the same average as Crowe ended his 77-test career on.
Taylor yesterday moved into fourth-equal on the New Zealand test century-makers list, tied with Stephen Fleming on nine centuries and behind only Crowe (17), John Wright (12), and Nathan Astle (11).
He also scored New Zealand's 17th test double-century and joined a 13-man group of players to do it, headed by Crowe.
Taylor was 103no out at stumps on day one. He said he had a number of career centuries in his mind he was aiming to reach, but he wanted to keep that number to himself.
Crowe's 17 would have a nice ring to it, but Crowe, who spoke to Taylor on the eve of the first test about mental preparation and how to treat the test innings despite having very little time in the middle, thinks he could do more.
"My wish is that the batting standard for New Zealand is 20+ hundreds," Crowe told Fairfax Media.
"That was my goal, but I ran out of legs. To be world class, it's obvious we must raise all we do to world class standards."
Crowe couldn't have been happier to see his mate score his first hundred in more than a year then carry on to a big score.
"I'm very pleased for him, after a tough year," Crowe said.
"His devoted work paid off. [His innings was] an excellent example for many to follow."
Meanwhile, West Indies quick Tino Best also sang Taylor's praises.
"The fella is a class act," a shattered Best said after bowling a career-high 34.1 overs.
"I've always admired him for a long time. I'm happy for him," he said.
"The last year or so he's been going through a tough period in New Zealand and to come and score a double hundred, I know the wicket is a little placid, but he showed a really good attitude and his concentration was immense."
Best did create a half-chance when Taylor was on just two on day one, but the gloved ball ballooned over the slip cordon.
"He showed the temperament of an international batsman in his prime," Best added.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Who's the best test cricket captain?