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December 21, 2013
Ross Taylor rated his hundred at Seddon Park, his third in three consecutive Tests, as the best of that series after he combated the threat of Sunil Narine for five-and-a-half hours to ensure New Zealand remained within touching distance of West Indies' competitive first-innings total. A couple of hours later it was shaping as a match-winning innings after a dramatic final session.
Taylor's run-fest over the last few weeks has given him 493 runs in the series, second only to Andrew Jones (513 against Sri Lanka in 1990-91) among New Zealand batsmen in a three-match series and he has one potential innings remaining to overtake him. He is also only the second New Zealand batsman to make hundreds in three consecutive Tests after Mark Burgess, whose centuries were spread over a period from 1969 to 1972 against three teams.
Among the other significant numbers, he has the second highest number of runs in a calendar year for New Zealand - just seven behind John R Reid's 871 in 1965 - and is now equal third in their century-makers list with 11 alongside Nathan Astle.
Taylor was delighted not to let down a special audience in attendance in Hamilton - his wife and two-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, were watching, having missed his opening-day ton in Wellington.
"When I came today I did think about it. A lot of people had mentioned it," Taylor said. "Jesse [Ryder] told me to get three in a row and Martin Guptill did. That was a nice reminder. My wife wasn't at Dunedin or Wellington and she was very 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 for a long time.
"Today was definitely the hardest one. It's hard to go past the 200 but today was the most challenging of the three with the Narine factor. And it'd be a lie to say I haven't been a little bit tired going in. It was nice to still trust the gameplan and still go out and bat."
That gameplan has involved shelving one of the shots that was often seen against the spinners: the slog sweep over midwicket. "As I said after the 200, Test cricket is sometimes not about the shots you play but the shots you put away and that's definitely been a mindset of mine. Here I am saying that but I'm probably going to try and slog-sweep tomorrow if I get a bat."
Having his daughter in the crowd also helped Taylor during lunch. He'd needed to battle during the morning session as Narine continued to tease from Northern End and he only added 33 in the session. After the break, enjoying the extra hardness of the second new ball which West Indies had delayed taking, he went to his hundred with a sweet cover drive off Tino Best, then opened up against Darren Sammy in an over that cost 20 including two straight sixes - his first of the series. "I don't know where it came from," he said. "I was getting a little bit tired before lunch and it was nice to come in and the best thing was probably seeing Mackenzie on the side and having a bit of a laugh.
"Peter Fulton had the Almanack out and I was answering the questions and it was nice to just get away from it. Sometimes when you bat for that long you can get a little bit ingrained in it. It was nice to have a little distraction from concentrating out in the middle."
New Zealand will hope that Taylor has to continue to find ways of switching off during long innings.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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