Taylor ton puts New Zealand in driver’s seat in second Test

Hamilton, Nov 28 (IANS) Experienced batsman Ross Taylor hit an unbeaten 102 and Tom Latham scored 80 to propel New Zealand into a dominant position after the fourth day of the second cricket Test against Pakistan at Seddon Park here on Monday.

Taylor helped the hosts edge closer to victory by notching up his 16th Test century in a match he wasn’t expected to play because of eyesight problems, allowing New Zealand to declare at 313/5 20 minutes before stumps, setting Pakistan target of 369 runs.

With this century, Taylor moved within one short of the New Zealand record of 17 Test tons held by Martin Crowe, who died of cancer earlier this year.

Pakistan had to negotiate three overs in 11 minutes before stumps and reached one without loss.

Pakistan have at least 98 overs at their disposal on the final day to score the 368 runs to square the series and defend their outstanding record in New Zealand.

The home team lead the two-match series 1-0 after winning the first Test at Christchurch by seven wickets and are now in a position to win a Test series against Pakistan at home for the first time since 1985.

Pakistan have won five and drawn three of the eight Test series they have played in New Zealand over the past 31 years and are unbeaten in their last 12 series against the Kiwis (seven wins and five draws) both home and away.

The hosts began the fourth day with a 55 run first innings lead after dismissing Pakistan for 216 in reply to their 271.

Tom Latham’s partnerships of 96 for the second wicket with Kane Williamson (41) and 52 for the third with Taylor tightened the hosts’ grip on the proceedings and they avoided the early loss of wickets which might have brought Pakistan back into the match.

The Test is now set up for an exciting finish as the Black Caps will chase 10 wickets and Pakistan need 368 runs. The pitch is no longer providing the assistance it did to seam bowlers through the first three days but it has also become a little two-paced and survival may be difficult for the batsmen.

Brief scores:

New Zealand 271 and 313/5d (Ross Taylor 102, Tom Latham 80; Imran Khan 3/76) vs Pakistan 216 and 1/0.

–IANS

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