Ross Taylor claimed New Zealand’s handling of spinner Yasir Shah will dictate how the first Test pans out as he reflected on becoming his country’s most capped cricketer.
The Black Caps reached 222-3 at stumps on day one in Mount Maunganui on Saturday as Taylor (70) and captain Kane Williamson (94 not out) helped the Kiwis rebuild from 13-2.
Taylor’s appearance brought up a notable personal milestone as he broke the record for most games for New Zealand in all formats with 438, overtaking Daniel Vettori, and the 36-year-old was given a standing ovation at the Bay Oval as he went to the crease.
He marked the landmark appearance in style, putting on 120 runs for the third wicket with Williamson before he fell to Shaheen Afridi (3-55).
“Every time you represent your country, it’s a special moment,” Taylor told a media conference.
“To represent them 400-odd times and to get the record, it’s not what I play for, but it’s nice to have got it and a special occasion.
“I got some nice words from BJ Watling and the team this morning and it felt a little bit like my 100th Test [he now has 104], going out to bat today with a standing ovation.
“I didn’t hear what the ground announcer said, but he must have told the crowd, because I’m sure they wouldn’t have known.”
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) December 25, 2020
Taylor acknowledged that while New Zealand were in a good position leg-spinner Yasir (0-56) remains the danger man.
He added: “When Yasir Shah was bowling, we were on our toes. Quite often the spinners in New Zealand don’t bowl much on day one or at all, so it shows what type of wicket it is.
“Obviously, we are happy with where we are at 222-3 and would have taken that at the start of the day.
“But it’s how we turn up on Sunday and get through that first hour or two that really dictates how good a day this really was.
“Yasir Shah is a world-class bowler and even the way he bowled today, just trying to get through his overs, pick and choose his moments when he tried to attack.
“We’ve got a bit of luck and we’re fortunate to get through that stage. But he’s definitely going to play a big part tomorrow and whenever we bat again.”
Shaheen claimed Pakistan’s sloppiness in the field cost them as they put down key chances, including dropping Williamson when he was on 18.
“They batted hard but I am frustrated by the dropped catches. It’s disappointing when you drop catches,” he said.
“We did try to get wickets early on with new balls and took two wickets but if you don’t take catches it will be difficult.
“It’s a part of the game but if you need to win matches you have to take catches and have to improve the fielding.
“They know how to play in their conditions so it is tough, but the ball is still new and we will come hard to take wickets as early as possible.”