REUTERS - Ross Taylor became New Zealand’s most prolific one-day international century maker on Wednesday when his 17th ton helped set up a tense six-run victory in the second match of the series against South Africa in Christchurch.
The 32-year-old had joined Nathan Astle on 16 ODI centuries earlier this month against Australia and he took sole possession of top spot when he hit Wayne Parnell for his eighth boundary off the final ball of the innings to finish unbeaten on 102.
New Zealand finished on 289 for four and then restricted the visitors to 283-9 to level the five-match series at 1-1 despite some late defiance from Dwaine Pretorius (50) and Andile Phehlukwayo (29 not out), who came close to guiding the visitors to victory.
Taylor was just pleased to celebrate the milestone with a win after Trent Boult and Tim Southee produced some excellent death bowling in the final two overs to close out the contest.
”Any time you score a hundred and if you don’t win, it doesn’t feel that great,“ said Taylor, who was named man-of-the-match. ”The bowlers stepped up and bowled in the right areas.
”It’s a fairly daunting task to bowl to that line up. You get one world class player out then another one comes in.
“But the boys hung in there.”
Taylor, who also has 16 test centuries, one less than Martin Crowe, anchored New Zealand’s innings as he combined with captain Kane Williamson (69) in a 104-run partnership and then in an unbeaten 123-run stand with Jimmy Neesham (71).
Earlier in his innings, Taylor also became the fourth New Zealander to surpass 6,000 ODI runs when he back cut leg-spinner Imran Tahir for his fourth boundary to bring up his 50.
Taylor now has 6,052 one-day runs, still well behind former captain Stephen Fleming’s 8,007. Astle is on 7,090 and Brendon McCullum has 6,083.
“I suppose it’s something you will reflect on at the end of your career,” Taylor added of surpassing Astle.
”Nath was one of my idols growing up so I was fortunate towards the end of his career and start of mine to play with him.
“It’s a little bit embarrassing from that point of view but records are there to be broken and hopefully some time soon someone will beat mine.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by John O'Brien