Record-breaking Taylor leads fine Black Caps fightback


Ross Taylor became the first New Zealand batsman to make a double-century against Australia as the Black Caps fought back superbly on day three of the second Test in Perth.

Taylor shared a mammoth third-wicket stand of 265 with Kane Williamson, who followed up his hundred in the first Test with 166, and reached stumps unbeaten on 235 - the highest score by a visiting batsman at the WACA.

The duo's admirable efforts helped New Zealand - 1-0 down in the three-match series - to close on 510-6, just 49 behind and with the chance to claim an unlikely first-innings lead.

On a pitch offering little assistance to the bowlers, both Williamson and Taylor were generally untroubled throughout the morning session, which New Zealand began on 140-2.

However, a masterful innings from Williamson was eventually brought to an end when he miscued a pull off Josh Hazlewood (1-98), and Mitchell Starc (2-83) then had Taylor, on 137, and Brendon McCullum dropped during a fearsome spell that included one delivery clocked at 160.4 kilometres per hour.

McCullum fell for 27 after tea and Australia also removed BJ Watling (1) and Doug Bracewell (12) before stumps, but there was no shifting Taylor, who moved beyond 5,000 Test runs as he registered his career-best score.

There was a lengthy delay during the opening session of the day due to problems with a sightscreen, but that did little to affect the batsmen as New Zealand added 109 runs to their score without loss.

Williamson, unbeaten on 70 overnight, once again appeared in complete control - collecting many of his runs through cover and midwicket - and it was a surprise when he was eventually caught at midwicket off Hazlewood.

Taylor also proved typically strong in the arc between mid-off and point as he punished Australia's bowlers ruthlessly - either side of being dropped at gully off Mitchell Marsh.

That let-off came during a hostile and luckless spell from Starc that also saw McCullum put down on five by Nathan Lyon at third slip.

New Zealand's captain did depart early in the evening, bowled by Marsh (1-73), and there was then a change in fortune for Starc as Watling cut a full toss to point.

Yet in Starc's next over, Taylor moved to 200 for the second time in his Test career, reaching the landmark in fitting fashion with a cover-driven four.

Bracewell hung around for 12 overs before being caught behind aiming a loose drive at a Mitchell Johnson (1-131) delivery, but Mark Craig (7) accompanied Taylor, who struck 34 fours, through to the close.