Taylor sheepish after surpassing Astle

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Ross Taylor said he felt a little embarrassed to have claimed a notable New Zealand record from Nathan Astle as the Black Caps edged past South Africa to level their one-day international series on Wednesday.

Taylor compiled 102 not out at Christchurch's Hagley Oval, his 17th ODI hundred taking him past Astle's benchmark for a New Zealand batsman.

"I don't really know what to say. I used to enjoy watching him [Astle] bat. I was fortunate enough to play with him towards the end of his career," said Taylor.

"It's a little bit embarrassing taking it off him. Records are there to be broken and for the next player to come along and beat me as well."

South Africa captain AB de Villiers hailed the performance of Taylor, who brought up his century from the final ball of New Zealand's innings.

"He's a fantastic player," said De Villiers. "He paced it really well today, almost too well. Once he started going there was no stopping him."

Taylor also passed 6,000 ODI runs - in his 180th appearance - with Wednesday's innings.

Yet New Zealand were given a scare when South Africa's ninth-wicket pair, Dwaine Pretorius and Andile Phehlukwayo, shared 61 to set up an unexpectedly tense finish.

The Proteas required 15 runs from the final over after Trent Boult bowled Pretorius with the final ball of the 49th, but could only manage eight as the Black Caps prevailed.