Aussies bounce back

HAMITON: Ross Taylor hit the fastest ever Test century by a New Zealander but his team missed the chance to open up a lead over Australia in the second Test here today.

New Zealand began the second day looking dominant, having bowled the tourists out for just 231. Taylor hit 138, reaching three figures in just 81 balls, but only opener BJ Watling (46) offered any support. Mitchell Johnson took four wickets as the Kiwis posted 264 before Australia reached 35-0 at close.

New Zealand, looking to square the two-match series, started the day on 19-1 after a magnificent opening day with the ball when skipper Daniel Vettori and Tim Southee each picked up four wickets. Matthew Sinclair (11) looked comfortable until Johnson found an inside edge which smashed into his off stump.

Taylor notched a half-century before Australia claimed their second scalp. Doug Bollinger ended what was shaping to be a big partnership when he bowled Watling. Martin Guptill (four) and Vettori (15) then gave up soft wickets around lunch, placing pressure on Taylor and Brendon McCullum.

Shane Watson dropped Taylor on 90 as he homed in on his century, but Johnson made another huge breakthrough claiming McCullum (five) to leave New Zealand still 38 runs behind with only the tail to come. Taylor’s onslaught continued, however, and he belted spinner Nathan Hauritz for 25 runs from one over.

After Jeetan Patel (seven) was caught by Ricky Ponting, Taylor’s luck finally ran out when he was given out after a referral on 138, his highest score against Australia. Southee hit 22 to pad New Zealand’s lead a little with Chris Martin, the last man to fall for a duck.

Johnson claimed 4-59, while Bollinger and Harris took three wickets apiece. Australia progressed steadily after tea and Watson had reached 28 by the time bad light forced the players off the field.