Ross Taylor was the second-highest run-getter in the ODI series © Getty Images
Ross Taylor was the second-highest run-getter in the ODI series © Getty Images

Although New Zealand suffered a close 3-2 defeat to England in the just concluded five-match ODI series during their tour of England, their big gain was Ross Taylor’s form. From nowhere he was back among the runs, scoring two centuries. Ayush Gupta takes a look at his batting performance against England in the series and analyses how it could help Kiwis’ batting.

New Zealand began their new journey after the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 campaign, with the tour of England in a two-match Test series. In the first Test at Lords, Ross Taylor was impressive in the first innings, with 62. However, he was dismissed for mere eight in the second innings. The second Test at Leeds had him getting out for just 20 in the first dig. But the second innings saw him score a healthy 48. READ: New Zealand pace bowling attack lacked venom without Trent Boult and Shane Bond

The most interesting observation is his calm and composed nature that allowed him to bat out the overs and not maintain his aggressive approach, which he usually does in every format of the game. This new approach gave him the confidence as he headed in to the limited-overs format, starting with the ODI series.

He started the limited-overs campaign on a promising note, scoring 57 in the first ODI at Birmingham, at a strike-rate of 105.56. The second ODI at The Oval saw him do even better: a blistering 119 off 96 deliveries, including 10 boundaries and four sixes, at a strike-rate of 123.96. His previous century was against Pakistan at Napier in February just before the World Cup. Clearly, his new style of approach, as was seen in the Test series, seemed to be working quite well. READ: Ross Taylor becomes sixth to score three hundreds in consecutive ODI innings

The third ODI at Southampton had him again putting up a commanding performance and scoring two centuries in a row, as he scored a brilliant 110 along with a strike-rate of 89.43. The fourth ODI at Nottingham was not as impressive as the previous two, but he scored a healthy 42, followed by another strong knock of 47 in the final ODI at Chester-le-Street.

Thus, he maintained an average of 93.75 throughout the series and scored a whopping 375 runs from the five games, at a healthy strike-rate of 95.90. He was the second-highest run getter in the series after vice-captain Kane Williamson.

Following the ODI series, he also played the lone T20I at Manchester, but was not as impressive as he was in the ODIs and failed to fire, scoring 17. It was totally unexpected of him, given the form he carried in the Test and ODI series and also the kind of aggressive player he is in the shortest format of the game. READ: Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor score record partnership against England in 3rd ODI at Southampton

Analysing his batting performance in the ODIs, it was his calm composure he maintained in the Test series, which helped him perform well in the limited-overs format as well. Of late, it was observed that he adopted the style to wait and observe the ball before going for a shot suitable for the ball. While, earlier, he used to have a faint judgement of the ball and more or less, committed himself to a shot he wanted to play. Also, he has now chosen to settle down while playing few defensive strokes rather than going for the big shots early in the innings, which he usually did before.

These are the general cricketing rules that every batsman should follow. However, few batsmen tend to learn late from their mistakes, and surely, that’s what happened with him as well. Nevertheless, the form and improvement might have come at the right time. Although, ending on the losing side might not give him the ultimate satisfaction, it would surely give him a huge morale boost to perform well and carry his good form in the next series as well, and it is this form that could well change the face of New Zealand’s batting in the upcoming games and series, be it in any format. With another all important limited-overs tour of South Africa coming up in August, it would be interesting to see how he fares in there.

(Ayush Gupta is a reporter at CricketCountry. A passionate supporter of Manchester United, he idolises Roger Federer and is also a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) maniac. He can be followed on Twitter @Ayush24x7)