Taylor's double-ton turns tables on Australia
New Zealand 6 for 510 (Taylor 235*, Williamson 166) trail Australia 9 for 559 by 49 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
That Kane Williamson scored a century at the WACA was no great shock, for at the Gabba Australia had found him harder to get out than grass stains on their whites. More surprising on day three in Perth was the remarkable form of Ross Taylor, who became the first New Zealander to score a Test double-hundred against Australia, and by stumps had a realistic chance of turning it into a triple-century.
Taylor's class has always been clear, as evidenced by a Test average in the mid-40s. But in Brisbane - indeed, for much of 2015 - he was so scratchy it was easy to forget how good he could be. A new city, a new pitch, a new man. At stumps on day three, Taylor had moved to his highest Test score and was still troubling the Australians. He was also troubling the scorers, running out of space to add to his 235 not out.
It was a day of New Zealand domination. After the first six days of this series that might seem like a typo, but it's not. On Saturday the match was evenly fought, and on Sunday New Zealand gave Australia a taste of their own medicine. And no bowling team likes to spend a full day in the Fremantle Doctor's office. All Australia could manage were four wickets; New Zealand piled on 370 runs.
The key was the 265-run partnership between Taylor and Williamson for the third wicket, which was New Zealand's highest of all time against Australia for any wicket. Importantly for New Zealand, after Williamson fell for 166 in the middle of the day, Taylor batted on and on and on. He brought up his second Test double-century from his 254th ball, with a cover-drive for four off Mitchell Starc.
Taylor celebrated with his trademark of sticking out his tongue, a move that has become less frequent over the past couple of years as the runs have dried up. But this was the Taylor of old. Along the way he became the fifth New Zealander to pass 5000 runs in Tests, and he surpassed his mentor Martin Crowe's 188 as the highest Test score by a New Zealander against Australia.
Most importantly, Taylor and Williamson gave New Zealand a chance in this match, and thus in the series. By stumps New Zealand had reached 6 for 510, trailing by just 49. Mark Craig was at the crease on 7, and if Taylor and the tail could drive New Zealand on to a handy lead on the fourth day, anything could be possible. That in itself is an achievement after conceding 559 in Australia's first innings.
It was a difficult day for Australia, who dropped chances and missed run-out opportunities. In the hour before tea, things fired up significantly when Mitchell Starc used a new ball to send down a searing spell, reaching 160.4kph with his fastest delivery and breaking Brendon McCullum's bat with another yorker. But he had two catches dropped off his bowling, and was not rewarded for his work.
McCullum was put down on 5 when he got a thick edge off Starc that flew to third slip, where Nathan Lyon spilled what he should have taken, and Taylor had a life on 137. He drove at Starc and Mitchell Marsh at gully got his hands to the ball but barely even slowed it down on its way to the third man boundary. By stumps, Taylor had punished Australia to the tune of nearly 100 more runs.
For the first two sessions of the day only one wicket fell, that of Williamson, who miscued a pull off Josh Hazlewood and lobbed a catch up to midwicket. In the final session Mitchell Marsh bowled McCullum for 27, Starc finally had his first of the day when BJ Watling drilled a full toss to point for 1, and Doug Bracewell edged behind off Mitchell Johnson for 12.
Bracewell had earlier lifted Lyon over the long-on boundary for six, and the fact that it was the first six of New Zealand's innings - in the 116th over - was an indication of how purely Taylor and Williamson had played earlier. For most of the day Williamson had looked incapable of making an error; he put on a batting masterclass the equal of anything Australia had bowled against in recent years.
Williamson was especially impressive whipping the ball off his pads through the leg side and his cover-driving was out of the textbook, keeping the ball along the ground wherever he played. He brought up his century with a cut behind point for four off Johnson from his 158th delivery, and his subdued celebrations were followed by resolute defence next ball, realising his job had only just begun.
It was the second hundred in consecutive Tests for Williamson and his fourth this year; by the time he departed he was averaging 105.12 in Test cricket in 2015. Taylor's recent record could hardly be more different. This was his first century of 2015, and since the end of the home series against West Indies in 2013 he had averaged, before this Test, 31.47.
But at the WACA, Taylor looked back to his best. Of his 34 boundaries, 24 came through the off side, his cover-driving and driving straight down the ground a feature of his innings. Like Williamson, Taylor mostly kept the ball on the ground and gave Australia few opportunities. His hundred came from 158 deliveries, and by the close of play he had faced nearly double that amount.
Both Taylor and Williamson had to deal with a 17-minute delay during the first session due to a farcical incident in which the groundstaff were unable to move the mechanical sightscreen. The time was added on to the end of the day to compensate. To Taylor, in the bigger picture of this enormous innings, 17 minutes was nothing.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale