Taylor not satisfied despite scoring century
The satisfaction Ross Taylor derives from his eighth test hundred will only be determined by what happens on the second morning of the second cricket test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Colombo later today.
The New Zealand captain could have been forgiven for taking a brief moment to bask in the glow of a fighting 119 not out on the first day at P Sara Oval as the tourists bounced back from an embarrassing 10-wicket mauling in Galle to reach 223-2 when rain forced stumps to be pulled nine overs early.
Taylor is a lead-from-the-front sort of bloke and he proved his worth under the spotlight three months ago, when he scored a brisk century in the second test against India after New Zealand had been mauled in the first test.
Last night's knock was more grit than style but it was just what New Zealand needed, and together with Kane Williamson, who is five runs short of a third test century, he showed his teammates how it should be done.
The pair have put on 209 runs, a record for the third wicket by a New Zealand pair in Sri Lanka.
However, Taylor is well aware yesterday's efforts will be redundant if New Zealand don't push on today and put some scoreboard pressure on the hosts, who have barely been troubled during this tour.
"We were in a similar position in Bangalore and I was happy with the way I went out there and played, that was a different innings than today," Taylor said.
"But it will only be really satisfying if we knuckle down tomorrow morning. Those first two hours are going to be critical.
"It's nice to score a hundred and be two-down after being 14-2 at one stage and I thought Kane Williamson batted very well ... but how good today was will depend on how good we get on in the morning.
"Taylor described the pitch as "pretty flat" but batsmen still had to get themselves in to feel comfortable and he is wary of getting through the second new ball before they can look to really press on.
"Hopefully we can deteriorate this wicket a bit more and (spinners) Jeetan Patel and Todd Astle on debut can make the most of a wearing wicket."
Taylor heaped praise on Williamson, who has barely scored a run since his test-saving 102 not out against South Africa in Wellington in March but is regarded as a player who can craft an innings in trying circumstances.
"Kane's struggled a bit in recent times and for him to come out and play like he did under a lot of pressure is credit to him," he said.
"He's still learning his game but he worked very hard during the week and it's nice when someone works that hard and gets the rewards. I'm very pleased for him.
"Once again, though, he's still got to go on tomorrow."
Taylor is also warning his teammates against being complacent when facing Rangana Herath, the left-arm spinner who took 11 wickets in the first test at Galle but ended the first day of the second test with 0-45 from 21 tidy but hardly threatening overs.
"He could still get 11 wickets so we don't want to get too carried away," Taylor said of the leading test wicket-taker in 2012.
"He spun the ball in that first over but there wasn't a lot of turn for him (after that). He's still play a big part in this test but hopefully the way Kane and myself played him, the rest of the team can get a bit of confidence from that.
"He's a world class bowler so I'm sure he'll come back strong at us."
- Fairfax Media