Taylor’s 102 helps New Zealand to 289-4 in 2nd ODI vs SA

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) Ross Taylor made a record-breaking 102 not out, his 17th century in limited-overs internationals, as New Zealand scored 289-4 batting first on Wednesday in the second ODI against South Africa.

In reaching his century from the last ball of the New Zealand innings, after being dropped on 96 one ball earlier, Taylor surpassed Nathan Astle’s record of 16 ODI centuries for New Zealand.

It was Taylor’s second century in his last three ODI innings – he made 107 against Australia earlier this month – and carried him past 6,000 ODI runs.

Taylor shared 104 for the third wicket with captain Kane Williamson (69) – their 11th century partnership in ODIs – and combined in a record unbroken stand of 123 for the fifth wicket with Jimmy Neesham (71).

On reaching his 33rd ODI half century from 60 balls, Taylor became the fourth New Zealander after Stephen Fleming (8,007), Astle (7,090) and Brendon McCullum (6,083) to reach 6,000 one-day international runs.

His partnership with Williamson set the platform for the New Zealand innings after the early losses of Tom Latham (2) and Dean Brownlie (34) left it 53-2.

Recent rain in Christchurch interfered with the preparation of the pitch at Hagley Oval and it was much slower than usual, making shot-making difficult.

Both Williamson and Taylor took time to find the pace of the wicket but when they did they adapted their stroke play to its pace, the accurate line and varied bounce of the South African bowlers and the well-set fields of Proteas captain A.B. de Villiers.

Williamson reached his 29th ODI half century from 59 balls. His 75-ball innings contained only six boundaries, reflecting the difficult nature of the pitch.

His 100 partnership with Taylor came from 111 balls and set New Zealand on course for a substantial total on a ground on which the side winning the toss has emerged victorious in only one of 10 ODIs.

Williamson was caught by Andile Phehlukwayo from the bowling of Imran Tahir when New Zealand was 157-3, skying and attempted sweep. Taylor was joined briefly by Neil Broom (2) and was then joined by Neesham who helped him close out the innings.

Neesham reached his third ODI half century from 45 balls with four boundaries. His partnership with Taylor was the best for New Zealand’s fifth wicket against South Africa in ODIs.

Taylor was 91 at the start of the last over and 98 with one ball remaining, reaching his century with a four from the bowling of Wayne Parnell.

One ball earlier Taylor slogged a short ball from Parnell to David Miller who appeared to take a brilliant diving catch on the boundary. But as he slid towards the rope Miller was forced to release the ball to avoid conceding four runs and in doing so he reprieved Taylor, allowing him to go on to his record-breaking century.