NZ vs Ban 2nd Test – ‘Couldn’t be scripted better’



Who will replace the retiring champion at No. 4 in Tests? Latham expects Conway to be in the running

As the fading sun hung above Hagley Oval, the end was in sight for Bangladesh. And it was close to finishing time for Ross Taylor. But for a career as remarkable as his has been, there had to be one final flourish. There was no chance of another bat, but what about a little bowl?
He stood around, turning his arm over, perhaps as a hint to Tom Latham. The crowd immediately got behind him, and pleaded with Latham to involve Taylor. One last time. The decision was eventually taken away from Latham. At the end of the 79th over, with New Zealand one wicket away from victory, the umpires told Latham that pace was no longer an option in the fading light.

“I was getting pressure from the crowd and also the boys, to bowl (Taylor),” Latham said after the innings victory that helped New Zealand square the series. “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 rocked up, and with his third delivery, he finished things off when Ebadot Hossain top-edged a slog. Latham took the catch, a tumbling effort that made it six for him in the match, to go with the 252 he scored in New Zealand’s only innings.

“Everyone wanted me to take that catch,” the New Zealand captain said. “It was pretty special to sign off the Test match like that. Ross has been absolutely amazing for New Zealand cricket for 17 years. We are looking forward to celebrating with his family tonight.”

“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”

Tom Latham

Taylor said later that it was an emotional occasion, but the wicket – his third in 112 Tests – made it that much more special.

“We played fantastically well. Bangladesh put us under pressure. The way we came out and bowled put them under pressure,” Taylor told Spark Sports. “It was an emotional game for me, my family and friends, as well as the team. It got quite flat there towards the end. I chucked it up, and Tom said it was the most pressure has felt in a game! It was a great way to finish.”

Taylor finished his Test career as New Zealand’s highest run-getter in the format, with 7683 runs at 44.66 with 19 centuries.

“(I have learnt from his) calm nature, the fact that he has scored runs in all parts of the world, to learn from him how he goes about things… How he approaches different bowlers. He has had a significant impact on us as a group, and also New Zealand cricket,” Latham said. “He inspired generations. He inspired me to play cricket. He is someone I always look up to. To play cricket with him, and the final Test with him, is pretty special.”

Latham said that identifying Taylor’s replacement would take place when the time was right, but he didn’t rule out Devon Conway, who has scored three centuries in his first five Tests, taking over the No. 4 position.

“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.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84


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