Breaking former teammate Daniel Vettori’s record to become the most-capped New Zealand player in international cricket felt special, admitted Ross Taylor on Saturday (December 26). Taylor made his 438th appearance for New Zealand during the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan going past Vettori’s tally. Taylor made a hard-fought 70 on the opening day as New Zealand went into Stumps at 222/3.
The 36-year-old has played over 100 games in all three formats having made his debut in 2006. “Every time you represent your country it’s a special moment,” Taylor said after the first day’s play. “To represent them 400-odd times and to get the record, it’s not what I play for, but it’s nice to have got it.
“It was a special occasion – I got some nice words from BJ (Watling) and the team this morning and it felt a little bit like my 100th Test, going out to bat today with a standing ovation. I don’t know what the ground announcer said, but he must have told the crowd, because I’m sure they wouldn’t have known.”
Taylor admitted to having been disappointed over his omission from the T20I side recently but his focus right now is firmly on helping New Zealand take a 1-0 lead in the Test series. “I still feel like I’ve got something to give to the Twenty20 side, but here we are in a Test match, and hopefully I can contribute to a team win,” Taylor said.
The veteran batsman has already made a significant contribution on the first day after helping his side recover. Pakistan’s seam attack got rid of the openers very early to leave the home side reeling at 13 for 2 but Taylor joined forces with his skipper Kane Williamson to bail New Zealand out for the umpteenth time.
“It was difficult early on,” Taylor recalled. “But you expect that on a day one wicket. It’s definitely flattened out, and it’s probably a little two-paced at times. It will be interesting – I’m sure it’s only going to get a little more uneven over the next couple of days.
“The way Kane and I got through that was nice and pleasing, but you’ve got to give it to Shaheen (Afridi). I thought he bowled outstandingly well, and Mohammad Abbas didn’t really give us much either.”
Comparing the Pakistan attack to the West Indies bowling line-up that toured New Zealand very recently, Taylor remarked that the Asian side were a lot more disciplined. The middle-order batsman also admitted that his side’s first day performance can only be judged after the first hour of play on day two.
“They (Pakistan) were a lot more disciplined and got the ball in good areas for a lot longer,” Taylor said. “West Indies, they did bowl well at times but weren’t as consistent as this lot (who are) probably a little bit more experienced.
“When Yasir Shah was bowling, we were on our toes. Quite often the spinners in New Zealand don’t bowl much on day one or at all, so it shows what type of wicket it is. Obviously, we are happy with where we are at 222 for 3 and would have taken that at the start of the day. But it’s how we turn up tomorrow and get through that first hour or two that really dictates how good a day this really was.”