Ross Taylor scored his 17th test century to equal the New Zealand record Monday and to put his team fully in control of the second Test against the West Indies. Taylor made an unbeaten 107 to join current captain Kane Williamson and Martin Crowe on the record before New Zealand declared at 291/8, setting the West Indies an unlikely victory target of 444 with two days remaining.
The West Indies, who will have to beat their world record for the highest winning fourth innings score in Test cricket — currently 418 against Australia in 2003 — were 30/2 at stumps. Opener Kieran Powell was out for a duck to complete a pair for the match and Shimron Hetmyer fell for 15, seven minutes before stumps on day three.
Captain Kraigg Brathwaite was 13 not out and Shai Hope was on 1, and the West Indies still trailed New Zealand by 414 runs.
Taylor kept up his close competition with Williamson to become the first New Zealander to score 18 Test centuries when he reached his hundred Monday from 172 balls. Williamson missed the chance to stretch the record mark when he was out earlier on the third day for 54.
Taylor had also missed an opportunity to equal the record when he was out for 93 in the first innings of the first Test at Wellington, where New Zealand won by an innings and 67 runs.
With his innings Monday, Taylor set up New Zealand's declaration late in the day and Williamson achieved his objective by taking two wickets in the short interval of 36 minutes before stumps. Powell was caught at slip by Tim Southee from the bowling of Trent Boult, and Hetmeyer chipped a catch to Neil Wagner at mid-off from Southee's bowling.
"When I started my career I never thought I'd even get to play Test cricket let alone get 17 centuries," Taylor said.
The milestone was more poignant for Taylor because he equalled the mark first set by Crowe, who helped guide him in his Test career at times when he struggled to fully realize his potential. Crowe died of cancer last year aged 53.
"The team situation was first and foremost in our minds and it was nice to get out there and get a bit of a score," Taylor said. "You never want to think a game is safe but to get a lead over 400 is satisfying."
Taylor said the West Indies made batting difficult with their best bowling performance of the series on Monday and he had a life when he was dropped in the gully on 35.
The determination of the West Indies not to surrender meekly was made evident by a fiery spell of fast bowling by Miguel Cummins immediately after lunch on day three. Cummins allowed his team to win back some ground from New Zealand who had dismissed the tourists for 221 Monday in reply to their first innings of 373, a lead of 152.
He took 2/22 from the six over-spell, dismissing Williamson with a sizzling yorker and removing Henry Nicholls (5) with a superb bouncer. He then unsettled Mitchell Santner with a sustained spell of short-pitched bowling, striking the New Zealand allrounder on the helmet.