NZ vs PAK: New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor said it is nice to come this far after he became the country’s most capped player across all three formats. The former skipper achieved the feat in the ongoing first Test against Pakistan at the Bay Oval here. This is Taylor’s 438th match for the New Zealand cricket team.
“At the start of my career, I was happy to play just one or two games. But I have come this far, it’s nice. I didn’t really expect much. I didn’t really hear what the announcer said, but few of the Pakistani players congratulated me,” Taylor said after the match. Earlier, Daniel Vettori held the record with 437 appearances to his name for New Zealand. The third player on the list is Brendon McCullum, who represented the team in 432 matches, followed by Stephen Fleming with 395 games.
After the early departure of the openers — Tom Latham (4) and Tom Blundell (5) — Taylor came to the rescue and joined skipper Kane Williamson. The duo played cautiously and built a 120-run stand for the third wicket.
Playing in his milestone game, Taylor scored 70 runs including a six and 10 fours. Henry Nicholls came in to bat at number five. Nicholls and Williamson then had an unbeaten 89-run partnership before the day’s play came to an end. Williamson is unbeaten on 94 while Nicholls is batting on 42.
Williamson’s anchor knock derailed Pakistan’s hope to dominate the Kiwis after two quick wickets. New Zealand were at 222/3 at the end of the opening day. For Pakistan, Shaheen Shah Afridi bagged all three wickets and returned with the figures of 3-55 in his 20 overs.
“Throughout the summer it has been green, but this one (pitch) is not as green as the other two. You can expect that in a Test match. We are happy to get through unscathed. After losing those two early wickets, we definitely would have taken that. Shaheen bowled fantastically well, he was not giving you anything. It was tough,” Taylor said.
“Sometimes the pressure is on the bowler when the skipper wants to make inroads and take wickets. But on these NZ wickets, the margin for error is very less. Hopefully, the up and down nature of this wicket will make things hard later, on day 4 and day 5,” he added.