Low-key Ross Taylor does it again at Basin
Ross Taylor prefers to leave the judgements and number-crunching till the end of his cricket career.
Yesterday, as he rattled off more milestones and rocketed further up the New Zealand charts, he was just happy to wave at his parents Neil and Ann in the Cricket Wellington pavilion, and thank them for making the trip over the Rimutaka Hill from Masterton to watch his 10th test century.
It was his first century at the Basin Reserve since India in 2009, a venue where he averages 62 in eight tests. Numbers matter to the 29-year-old, but not for a few more years.
"I'm not sure whether [two-year-old daughter] Mackenzie will care whether I average 46 or 42. Do they matter? Yeah, I do look at my average, numbers and runs but I think they are things to look back on after you've finished. You can average whatever you do now but it's what you end with when you pull up stumps," he said.
For now the statistics do all the talking. It's 362 runs for once out in his past three innings against West Indies. His century took him past Stephen Fleming to outright fourth on the New Zealand list, with Nathan Astle (11), John Wright (12) and his mentor Martin Crowe (17) waiting to be picked off.
And he joined six other New Zealand batsmen, all with inferior averages, in the 4000-run club in just his 52nd test.
"It's nice to beat players who have played for a long time and beating their scores in less time as well is always nice. I'm happy with where I am at the moment and just want to continue, obviously there's a few more hundreds I want to score; not just 11, 12 or 13."
Taylor's career average stands at 46.52, more than a run ahead of Crowe's final figure. The pair's achievements will always be linked; indeed Taylor reached 4000 runs in his 94th innings yesterday, one more than it took Crowe.
After his career-best Dunedin knock of 217 not out, Taylor credited Crowe with keeping his mind in the zone. And it's showed in recent innings as Taylor dug in, rid the loose shots and made it count for his team. Before yesterday's innings he'd moved to a career-high seventh on the world test batting rankings.
Asked if he felt in the form of his life, Taylor measured his response.
"I think I'm in the best mindset that I've ever been in," adding a quip that he'd been in better form at under-17 and under-19 tournaments.
Crowe doesn't often speak of Taylor's achievements but would have been watching proudly. He said last week 20-plus centuries should be the benchmark for a New Zealand batsman; his charge is halfway there but looks a decent chance of getting extremely close.