December 14, 2008
After making an unexpected maiden Test century to rescue West Indies in the first Test against New Zealand, West Indies fast bowler Jerome Taylor thanked his batting partner Shivnarine Chanderpaul for some sound advice during their 153-run stand.
Taylor had come to the crease with West Indies on 173 for 6 – still 192 behind New Zealand’s first-innings total – and blasted a 107-ball 106 while Chanderpaul made a more measured 76 to lift their side to 340.
“Batting with Shiv gave me a lot of confidence. He supported me throughout and put faith in me from the start. He was in the middle talking to me and that helped me along the way,” he said. “I was not thinking of the hundred, I was thinking only of occupying the crease and Shiv kept telling me, just hang around and hit the bad balls. He said ‘bat and bat and bat’.”
Taylor, who hadn’t even made a first-class half-century before this game, was thrilled with his effort. “Words can’t quite describe how I feel. I always knew I had it in me to make a Test century and today I proved it. Making a Test century is everyone’s dream and I have fulfilled that dream. I hope it is the first of many to come.”
Eighty-six of his runs came in boundaries, including three massive sixes. “I didn’t think I had to change my style because we were in trouble. I felt I should back myself and believe in myself.
“It was a very meaningful innings to the team and to me as an individual. I had to bat for the team to make sure West Indies could not lose this match. It was opportunity to show determination and guts and I got the reward.”
A Test average of 13.66 may not be something to boast about but Taylor said he was working hard to improve it. “The coaches keep telling me I have the ability to be an allrounder and I’m taking my batting seriously and working very hard. I wanted to take it a step at a time, get a half-century first and try to move to a century. It all came at once today.”