Legendary Black Caps batter Ross Taylor has put the ultimate, heartwarming full stop on a terrific Test career … with a very rare wicket.
New Zealand on Tuesday wrapped up the second Test against Bangladesh by an innings and 117 runs, with Taylor taking the final wicket in a fairytale finish to square the two-Test series in Christchurch.
With the visitors nine wickets down and facing a big innings defeat, the local Kiwi crowd encouraged Black Caps captain Tom Latham to give Taylor — who’d only sent down 16 Test overs for two wickets prior to the Hagley Oval match — a bowl before the new ball became available.
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Latham relented and handed the ball to Taylor — who couldn’t wipe the smile off his face — for his first Test spell since October 2013.
After a terrific full yorker with his first delivery, Taylor tossed up a well-flighted ball and forced a top-edge from the bat of Ebadot Hossain. The ball went in the direction of Latham, who steadied himself and held onto the catch to dismiss Ebadot for four, seal victory for the Black Caps and spark wild scenes.
Asked cheekily if he was “under-bowled” during his Test career, a typically humble Taylor told Spark Sport post-game: “I suppose if you bowl in those situations more often, you get the wicket.
“It’s a great way to finish … I wanted to finish with a win and the guys definitely gave that to me.
“It was an emotional game for me and my family and friends and my teammates as well.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed representing my country.”
It was a fitting farewell for 37-year-old Taylor — New Zealand’s elder statesman playing his 112th and final Test — who bowed out of red-ball cricket with a New Zealand record 7,683 runs to his name and 37th in the all-time list of the sport’s most prolific run-getters.
“The ultimate compliment, to bow out on your terms and in your time and in your style,” former Black Caps teammate Brendon McCullum told Spark Sport.
“Ross Taylor – a tremendous servant for the Black Cap, a wonderful custodian of the sport and he heads off into retirement with the whole of New Zealand behind him.”
Taylor’s wicket came after Liton Das cracked a gallant 102 off 111 deliveries for Bangladesh but it was nowhere near enough with the tourists dismissed in their second innings for 278 after being forced to follow on 385 runs behind.
The top order put up gritty resistance in reaching 123 for three, while Liton shared a century partnership for the sixth wicket with Nurul Hasan.
But there was no fight in the tail as New Zealand, the reigning World Test champions, completed a much-needed win after being comprehensively beaten by eight wickets in the first Test.
Bangladesh were sunk in their second innings by the bounce of Neil Wagner, who took three for 77, while Kyle Jamieson finished with four for 82.
But the foundations for the victory were laid by captain Latham with his 252 to set up New Zealand’s mammoth first innings 521 for six declared.
The Bangladesh bowlers failed to capitalise on the green wicket, after winning the toss and putting New Zealand into bat, and when Bangladesh batted the New Zealand pace pair Trent Boult and Tim Southee showed how to use the conditions.
With swing and seam to the fore, the innings was all over in 41.2 overs for 126 with Boult taking five for 43 and Southee three for 28.
When Bangladesh were sent in to bat again, New Zealand produced the third weapon in their bowling armoury, short-ball specialist Wagner.
After Jamieson removed Shadman Islam (21), Wagner entered the action with a short ball to Najmul Hossain Shanto (29) that was hooked to Boult on the fine-leg boundary.
Debutant Mohammad Naim made a cautious 24 off 98 balls before he fell to Southee and then Wagner was back in the action.
Skipper Mominul Haque had reached 37 when Wagner switched to a full delivery which was edged to Taylor at first slip.
Yasir Ali, who scored 55 in the first innings, was on two when he fended at a rising Wagner delivery and the ball lobbed to Latham at second slip.
Jamieson, who struggled with his line in the losing Test, won by Bangladesh by eight wickets, was much sharper in Christchurch, removing Mehidy Hasan and Liton to go with the wicket of Shadman.
— with AFP