Ross Taylor’s physical and mental strength have come in for high praise as the Black Caps batsman scored a double century to anchor New Zealand’s fightback against Australia in the second test yesterday.
Taylor broke out of a form slump to score an unbeaten 235 as New Zealand reached 510-6 at the end of the third day in Perth, though still trailing Australia by 49 runs.
It’s an incredible turnaround after he was hit in the groin during nets practice in Zimbabwe in August and required testicular surgery, which sidelined him for two months.
Taylor batted the entire third day and has been at the crease at the WACA for seven hours and 40 minutes, enduring the heat of the west Australian summer and the relentless Australian bowling attack.
He combined with Kane Williamson, who scored 166, to put on a New Zealand record partnership against Australia of 265.
Taylor’s individual score is a record against Australia and the best by any touring batsman in a test at the WACA.
It has earned the 31-year-old high praise from both sides of the equation.
New Zealand batting coach Craig McMillan said the innings ranked “right up there as one of New Zealand’s best test knocks” and Australian great Ian Chappell marvelled at Taylor’s resilience.
Chappell felt Taylor had emerged from the large shadow that Williams has cast over the New Zealand batting lineup in recent times to reinforce his own status with his 13th test century in a powerful performance by the Black Caps.
“Ross Taylor deserves a lot of credit,” Chappell, the former Australian captain and now an analyst for ESPNcricinfo said.
“He was struggling at the Gabba where he looked out of form But he has battled his way back into form here and finished up in very, very good form.”
Chappell said the innings came on top of a marathon stint at first slip when New Zealand were in the field and that needed to be factored into his batting achievement.
“You also have to give him credit for the physical thing … out there in the field you could say he was at first slip but you have to concentrate hard at first slip. That’s draining mentally. Then to come out and bat which is obviously again another big mental concentration thing and to do it for so long
“I think he was beginning to wane a bit at the end … he was trying to see it out to stumps have a good night’s sleep and have another crack at Australia.
“But it’s a terrific performance. New Zealand are showing what you expect from them … a lot of fight.”
Chappell also dished out continued praise for Williamson.
“He impressed everyone at Brisbane but we all thought OK, let’s see how he goes at the WACA. Well he went very, very well.
“He’s a very good player, a lovely player to watch, he’s easy on the eye and simple. He has a very simple method … he thinks no further than the next ball coming down. For any young cricketer, he’s a good player to model yourself on.”
Chappell believed that if New Zealand could establish a first innings lead they could put unexpected pressure on Australia who lead the series 1-0.
Chappell still favoured a draw as the likely result but if New Zealand “could put the frighteners” on the Australians, they would take a psychological advantage into the third test in Adelaide.
Former Black caps bowler Danny Morrison was thrilled to see Taylor return to form in such style.
“He has struggled a bit but it’s nice to see a bit of Kane’s patience and influence rub off on him,” Morrison told ESPNcricinfo.
“He has looked particularly scratchy but he fought through that so I’m really hoping that this could be a little cornerstone … get over the hurdle as it were and some big things for the rest of the summer.”
ROSS TAYLOR’S INNINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
235 runs not out (includes 34 4s)
461 minutes, 308 balls
Batted entire third day after coming in during final session of second day
His second double century after 213* v West Indies at Dunedin, 2013
13 Kiwis have scored test double centuries
Only five NZers have scored two or more double centuries
Highest score by NZer against Australia
Highest score by touring batsman in test in Perth
First double century by touring batsman in test in Perth
Ninth highest score by NZer in list topped by Brendon McCullum’s 302
Included record stand v Australia of 265 with Kane Williamson
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