Ross Taylor could barely raise his bat after topping 20 hours at the crease this series, but he never wants this magic carpet ride to end.
New Zealand's batting supremo crafted his 11th test century, and third in as many tests against the West Indies at Seddon Park yesterday, before the pacemen put them within reach of a 2-0 series victory.
With his pregnant wife Victoria and their two-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, cheering from just beyond the boundary, Taylor piled on 131 to join Nathan Astle at equal third on the New Zealand test century list. Only the 29-year-old's mentor Martin Crowe (17), and his former coach John Wright (12) remain to be hauled in.
Mark Burgess was the only other Kiwi to score centuries in three successive tests, but that was spread over more than two years (1969-1972) and three countries.
It was a statistic his mates Jesse Ryder and Martin Guptill, who'll join him in the one-day team on Boxing Day, were quick to raise when he was 56 not out overnight in the third test.
"When I came here today I did think about it. A lot of people had mentioned it. Jesse told me to get three in a row and Guppy did too. That was a nice reminder," Taylor said.
"My wife wasn't at Dunedin or Wellington and she was angry when she got to Wellington that she wasn't able to see it. It was nice to get a hundred for her, because Mackenzie and Victoria haven't seen me score a hundred anywhere."
Taylor's previous test ton in Hamilton was a whirlwind 138 against Australia in 2010. But the remastered Taylor clears his mind, digs in, avoids the slog sweep and wins tests for his country. His series tally stands at 1218 minutes at the crease; 493 runs at an average of 246.5.
Only Andrew Jones (513 runs against Sri Lanka in 1991) scored more for New Zealand in a three-test series. And Taylor's 864 test runs at 72 this year is only seven shy of John R Reid's New Zealand record in 1965.
"Today was definitely the hardest one. It's hard to go past the 200 [in Dunedin] but today was the most challenging of the three. The [Sunil] Narine factor and I've never batted this long before. It'd be a lie to say I haven't been a little bit tired going in."
He raised his century with a trademark cover driven boundary off Tino Best, then waved to his family and raised his bat with the now trademark tongue-poke.
"Scoring a hundred in test cricket, as Shiv [Chanderpaul] said to me in Wellington, is always tough and I hadn't scored one for close on a year," he said. "Obviously the rub of the green is going my way and I'm feeling pretty good about things but you've got to ride it as long as possible. Tomorrow's another day and we've still got a tricky target [122 to win the series]."
- Sunday Star Times
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