The fitting way the Blackcaps secured the WTC title

Author
Dylan Cleaver, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 24 Jun 2021, 8:48AM
New Zealand's captain Kane Williamson, right, and Ross Taylor celebrate their win on the sixth day of the World Test Championship final. (Photo / AP)
New Zealand's captain Kane Williamson, right, and Ross Taylor celebrate their win on the sixth day of the World Test Championship final. (Photo / AP)

The fitting way the Blackcaps secured the WTC title

Author
Dylan Cleaver, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 24 Jun 2021, 8:48AM

Ross Taylor ended the ultimate test with his best stroke of the match – a dismissive flick over square leg for four – but it was a shot that had its genesis two years earlier.

"The 2019 World Cup was very tough for us, but this makes up for it," Taylor said, referencing the heartbreaking day at Lord's where they lost the CWC final on a boundary countback despite the match ending in a tie.

Taylor took that result hard. Earlier he had earmarked that tournament as a potential career swansong, but it instead hardened his resolve to add some silverware, some heft, to a glittering career.

The veteran batsman had the honour of scoring the winning runs in his 108th and most important test. He had the joy of doing it 22 yards away from Kane Williamson, with whom he has formed the greatest No 3-4 punch in New Zealand history.

Taylor scored 47, Williamson 52, becoming just the second player to pass 50 on this devilishly tricky surface. The pair put on 96, an extraordinary partnership in the context of the game, and was clearly determined to protect those still to come.

"Kane has been a fantastic leader for a long period of time," Taylor said of his batting mate.

"It's been a couple of years coming. Lot of rain but the way the team fought from day one, to be out there in a crucial situation, it's something I'll never forget.

"This would have to be the highlight of my career. At the start of my career, I felt we probably didn't have the side to do this.

"I'm sure there are a few Kiwis waking up who will be very proud. There was a lot of pressure; it was nice to be standing up to it."

Taylor said the plan was simple upon arriving at the crease.

"It wasn't easy to start, but [the thinking was] it would get easier. The run rate wasn't a factor."

Taylor has given no indication as to his future plans though he is much closer to the end than the start.

No New Zealander has scored more international centuries than him and only one – the guy at the other end – has more test centuries. He's not just a modern New Zealand great, but an all-timer.

Nobody has earned this moment more.