Taylor happy to be back in the fold
When the opposition has finished the opening day on 240 for 2, there is usually little about your performance to be satisfied about. West Indies fast bowler Jerome Taylor, though, had plenty to be satisfied about, as he returned to Test cricket after five years with figures of 17-7-22-1.
Those five years included an injury-filled 32-month spell during which the only recognised cricket he played was a couple of domestic Twenty20s. It was only this January that Taylor was back to regularly playing competitive cricket, featuring in eight first-class matches for Jamaica in the Regional Four-Day competition.
His nerves about playing international cricket after a long gap were settled by the early wicket of New Zealand opener Peter Fulton. "At the start of the game, I felt a bit of butterflies in my stomach knowing that the expectation is very high," Talyor said after the first day's play in Kingston. "I myself know that I want to give a good account of myself. It was good for me coming back and getting in the wickets column and being able to come out and give a good display of myself. So I'm really happy with that but there's still room for improvement."
A spate of injuries disrupted his international career but Taylor was happy with his fitness levels this year. "I think I'm there in terms of how the body is reacting to the stress I'm putting it under. We've had two hectic weeks in Barbados in the lead up to here and we had two days off and then back to practice again leading up to the Test match. I think the body is responding pretty well, feeling good within myself as well."
He was also asked about the mental strength needed to return to top-flight cricket. "I'm somebody who doesn't try to think about the cricket too much, I try to do something that relaxes me, something to take all the pressure off me," Taylor said. "Having the experience of playing at this level before and to come back and play again, you know what you have to do."
New Zealand ended the first day in a strong position, thanks to a 165-run partnership for the second wicket between Tom Latham and Kane Williamson. "We bowled well in patches, the New Zealanders were very reluctant to come at us in the first session, so I think they came back hard looking to get some score. They capitalised on the bad deliveries that we bowled and I think we were a bit inconsistent."
Nevertheless, Taylor remained hopeful of a turnaround. "It is a five-day game, so we have four days to go, you never know, tomorrow can be a totally different day."