Ross Taylor hit a career-best 235 not out and became the first New Zealander to score a Test double century against Australia as the visitors reached 510 for six wickets at stumps on the third day of the second Test at the WACA in Perth on Sunday.
Taylor and Kane Williamson (166) resurrected the New Zealand innings from a shaky 87 for two in a record 265-run third-wicket stand after Australia posted a match-controlling 559 for 9 declared. Former New Zealand captain Taylor, 31, anchored the New Zealand innings for seven hours and 40 minutes in his 66th Test as he improved on his unbeaten 217 against the West Indies in Dunedin in 2013.
Left hander Mark Craig, who joined Taylor at 485 for six, kept Taylor company for 35 minutes in scoring seven runs. It was also the first double century by a touring batsman in a test at the WACA.
In a remarkable batting effort by Taylor, who mixed caution with aggression to bat an entire day, New Zealand finished 49 runs shy of the Australian first innings.
With the pitch playing true and showing no signs of deterioration, Australia will be hard pushed to force a victory over the last two days and secure the series.
After losing the first Test in Brisbane, New Zealand took the fight to Australia through the third-wicket pair before losing three wickets to the second new ball.
It was Taylor’s first century in nine innings this year after a lean spell before a very fine innings that gave New Zealand’s batting a shot in the arm. He scored 209 runs on the day after resuming on 26. He hit 34 fours off 308 balls.
Williamson’s stand with Taylor is a record for the third wicket between the two countries, eclipsing the 224 runs shared between John Reid and Martin Crowe at the Gabba in 1985.
New Zealand began the day on 140 for two with Williamson on 70. Williamson was unlucky to miss out on a well-deserved double ton too, when he miscued a pull and was caught at mid on in the fourth over with the second new ball.
Williamson struck 24 boundaries off 250 balls for his second century of the series, after scoring 140 in the 208-run defeat in the first test at the Gabba last week. Williamson took his run tally in 2015 to 841 runs in just nine innings at an average of 105.12 including four centuries.
New Zealand could have been in a bit more trouble soon after if Australia hadn’t dropped Taylor (137) and Brendon McCullum (27) in quick succession.
Mitchell Starc, who got rid of BJ Watling later, bowled quick with the second new ball and topped 160.4 kph (99.67 mph).
Meanwhile, Australian batsman Usman Khawaja has been ruled out of the next two Test matches — against New Zealand in Adelaide and West Indies in Hobart — with a strained left hamstring that he injured while fielding on the second day. Khawaja had scored two centuries in as many tests against New Zealand.
Opener David Warner (253) and Khawaja (121) shared a record 302 runs for the second wicket to set up Australia’s mammoth first-innings total.