Cricket-Fading light, crowd pressure combine for Taylor-made farewell

FILE PHOTO: Cricket – ICC World Test Championship Final – India v New Zealand – Rose Bowl, Southampton, Britain – June 23, 2021 New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor celebrate after winning the ICC World Test Championship Final Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

January 11, 2022

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – The stars were aligned for Ross Taylor’s farewell to test cricket on Tuesday as fading light offered him the chance to bowl against Bangladesh and claim the final wicket that sealed New Zealand’s series-levelling victory.

The 37-year-old signed off as New Zealand’s most prolific test batsman with 7,683 runs, which include 19 hundreds, from 112 matches with an average of 44.66.

But the hosts’ decision to enforce the follow-on had denied Taylor one last chance to add to his tally in the second match at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval.

With New Zealand one wicket away from victory in third day’s final session, skipper Tom Latham tossed the ball to Taylor.

And the part-time spinner duly obliged, claiming the last Bangladesh wicket of Ebadot Hossain with his third delivery to seal victory by an innings and 117 runs.

“I was getting pressure from the crowd and also the boys, to bowl (Taylor),” said Latham, who took the catch to complete Ebadot’s dismissal.

“The umpires played their part as well. It was actually very dark out there.

“They said we can’t bowl seamers and that led to my decision to bowl Ross and that’s the way it worked out. It couldn’t be scripted any better.”

Latham, whose 252 earned him man-of-the-match award, said it was particularly pleasing to be involved in Taylor’s last act in test cricket.

“Everyone wanted me to take that catch and sign off a test like that, and for Ross to have another test wicket under his belt was pretty special,” he added.

“It’s a massive test for Ross this one and his final one. The servant he’s been for New Zealand cricket over 17 years has been absolutely amazing and we’re looking forward to celebrating with him and his family tonight.

“He’s inspired generations. He’s inspired me to play cricket … To play cricket with him and play in his final test is pretty special,” Latham said.

Bangladesh had accorded Taylor a guard of honour when he came out to bat in the first innings and the visitors’ captain Mominul Haque said he was well worthy of it

“I’ve admired him since my early days. He’s a legend of New Zealand cricket and he’d be missed,” said Mominul.

“We knew it was his last test, so we wanted to honour his outstanding career by giving him a guard of honour.”

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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