Ross Taylor couldn’t have asked for a fitting farewell to his Test career. Playing his 112th Test match for New Zealand and his final match in the red-ball format, Taylor picked up a wicket on the last ball of his career, as the Kiwis steamrolled Bangladesh by an innings and 117 runs to level the series 1-1 in Christchurch on Tuesday. Bangladesh had won the first Test by eight wickets at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui. (More Cricket News)
By finishing with a wicket, Ross Taylor joined cricket greats like fellow countryman Richard Hadlee, Australian Glenn McGrath and Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan to bag a wicket on the last ball of their Test careers. Taylor had sent down only 16 overs in his entire Test career for two wickets prior to the second Test against Bangladesh at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
Being the highest run-getter for New Zealand in Tests, one expected Taylor to bat one final time in whites on Tuesday, but the 37-year-old was not destined to do that. New Zealand's stand-in captain Tom Latham enforced the follow-on after Bangladesh, replying to the home team's 521 for six declared, were all out for 126 in their first inning.
When Bangladesh were nine down at 276 and looking down the barrel, the Christchurch crowd demanded one last hurrah from Taylor, who scored 28 in the first innings.
Captain Latham handed the ball to Taylor. Bowling his first spell since 2013, Ross Taylor bowled a terrific yorker with his first delivery. Ebadot Hossain, pushed the second back to the bowler before top-edging the third for Latham to complete the catch and trigger the celebration. It was Taylor's third Test wicket.
“It’s great to finish off your career with a win and a wicket, I wanted to finish off with a win and the guys did it,” Taylor said after the match. “Bangladesh put us under a lot of pressure a number of times, it's only fair that we share the series.
Ross Taylor takes a ðÂÂÂÂÂÂªðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂ§ to finish his Test career ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂJanuary 11, 2022
“The series was great - I was wondering if we need to come back tomorrow, but the boys were fantastic. It became a bit funky towards the end, I chucked it up and Tom (Latham) said it was the most precious thing I did over the whole game.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed representing my country, have played a lot here (in Christchurch), spent a lot of time and it's a great way to finish,” added Taylor, who finished with 7683 runs to be on top of the run-getters list for New Zealand in Tests.
Taylor was destined to finish with a wicket as the umpires told Latham the light is not good enough for the pacers to bowl. Latham had no other choice. “I was getting pressure from the crowd and also the boys, to bowl (Taylor),” Latham said after the innings victory.
It's going to be strange watching New Zealand play without Ross Taylor ðÂÂÂ¥º
He leaves the field for the final time as a Test cricketer after taking the wicket to win the game ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ
A brilliant ambassador for his country and the sport.January 11, 2022
“But the umpires played their part as well. It was very dark out there. They said we couldn’t bowl seamers, I guess that left one decision, to bowl Ross. It couldn’t be scripted any better.” Taylor bowed out with 19 centuries to his name – second-highest for New Zealand, only behind regular skipper Kane Williamson.
Ross Taylor also equalled Daniel Vettori’s record as New Zealand's most-capped Test player in history. Although Taylor has announced his retirement from international cricket, he will have more time to say the final goodbye. Taylor will get the limited-overs series against Australia and the Netherlands before he finally hangs up his boots.
What a journey Ross Taylor has been on with New Zealand!
He talked through his final moments as a Test cricketer and his time playing in whites...
"I've thoroughly enjoyed representing my country. It was a great way to finish..."January 11, 2022
Finding a replacement for Taylor will be hard, but one can’t rule out Devon Conway to take that place. The left-hander has already scored three centuries in his first five Tests, including a double ton on debut. He also scored two centuries in this series.
“It will be a conversation over the coming weeks, ahead of the next Test. Kane (Williamson) will slot into No. 3,” Latham said. “Devon has played really well at that No. 3 spot. Kane has such a good record there. I am sure Devon will make the most of his opportunities if he is slotted into No. 4.”
(With inputs from S. Pervez Qaiser)