Ross Taylor whispered a prayer and an apology to the late Martin Crowe on Monday as he overtook his mentor’s century tally during an exceptional innings of 200 that put New Zealand in a strong position in the second Test against Bangladesh.
Taylor’s 18th Test century, one more than Crowe laid the foundation for New Zealand’s 432 for six declared in the first innings of the rain-disrupted Test in Wellington.
At stumps, Bangladesh were 80 for three in their second innings, needing another 141 runs on the final day to make New Zealand bat again.
The number four’s sterling effort was his third Test double hundred and achieved his long-held ambition to fulfill Crowe’s prophecy that Taylor would one day overtake the late great batsman’s mark.
“I told Hogan (Crowe) ‘my apologies’ for taking so long to get there,” said Taylor who scored his 17th century in 2017, nearly two years after Crowe died from cancer.
“Seventeen was such a big number when I just started playing cricket. Once I got there it was probably a bit of a relief and then I didn’t kick on. It was probably a little in my subconscious.”
Taylor had discussed breaking Crowe’s record with a sports psychologist who told him to acknowledge it would always be there and “now it’s nice to knock it off and just go out there and play”.
In the course of his innings, Taylor also passed Crowe’s record for the most runs scored at the Basin Reserve “so he’s probably a bit annoyed with that one,” the batting mainstay quipped.
Taylor, who was dropped twice on 20, featured in a 172-run stand with Kane Williamson for the third wicket and shared a 216-run partnership with Henry Nicholls for the fourth.
Nicholls made 107, his fifth century, while Williamson, who now holds the New Zealand record for the most centuries with 20, battled with an injured shoulder to reach 74 before he was dismissed.
Williamson took no further part in the day’s play and went for a scan on the shoulder which proved inconclusive and he will have a second scan on Tuesday.