March 8, 2018 / 2:33 AM / 2 months ago

Taylor's health more important than decider as NZ look to tests

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor’s health would not be risked for the series-deciding one day international on Saturday as the team looks ahead to two tests against England, coach Mike Hesson has said.

Cricket - ODI - New Zealand vs England - University Oval, Dunedin, New Zealand, March 7, 2018. New Zealand's Ross Taylor hits a shot during the one-day international match. REUTERS/Ross Setford

A hobbling Taylor scored an unbeaten 181 to lead New Zealand to a five-wicket win in the fourth match in Dunedin on Wednesday despite suffering a recurrence of a leg injury that left him limping between the wickets.

Taylor’s innings ensured the hosts would go into the fifth and final match at Hagley Oval with the series locked at 2-2.

“It needs a bit of time to get rid of those aches and pains and then we can make an assessment on the detail of the injury,” Hesson told reporters in Dunedin on Thursday.

“We need to know the extent of it and whether it’s one of those injuries that can get worse or whether you can grin and bear it. We’re just not sure yet.

“Once we know that we can make an educated decision over whether it is worth the risk or whether he genuinely needs a good break before the tests.”

Mark Chapman has rejoined the squad as cover in case Taylor fails fitness exams, with the first test at Eden Park in Auckland — New Zealand’s inaugural day-night match — starting on March 22.

Taylor’s innings was lauded by media in both New Zealand and Britain, with the travelling press pack condemning their side for throwing away a golden opportunity to lock up the series with a match to spare.

England had been 267 for one in the 38th over, but suffered a collapse of six for 21, ending any hopes of posting a total close to 400.

They still finished on an impressive 335 for nine and had New Zealand in trouble at 2-2 in the third over before Taylor, captain Kane Williamson (45) and Tom Latham (71) fought back.

Taylor had missed the third match after he had been hit several times by the ball while batting and then seemed to exacerbate the injury when he dived while completing a risky run after he had achieved his 19th one-day century.

The injury had been discussed by the team’s management and physiotherapist at the time but there were fears if Taylor retired hurt his leg could “seize up” and he might not be able to return if needed, Hesson said.

“We thought if Ross could get us another 20-25 runs at that point quickly that will keep us in the game,” Hesson said. “The fact Ross got more than 25 was obviously very helpful for us.

“You don’t use the word great often, but that was a great hundred.”

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Ian Ransom

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