New Zealand's Ross Taylor has welcomed the pressure of a Test series in Australia.
New Zealand's Ross Taylor has welcomed the pressure of a Test series in Australia.

New Zealand ready to challenge for win says Taylor

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Senior statesman Ross Taylor believes New Zealand have developed a seasoned core of players impervious to the pressure that comes with a Test series in Australia.

World class batsman Taylor isn't phased about New Zealand's miserable record in trans-Tasman contests, nor the fact that no player in the touring squad has played a first class match at any of the series' three venues.

 

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The opener starts at Perth's Optus Stadium on Thursday before visits to the MCG and SCG - more than 30 years since the Black Caps' previous Tests at either ground.

It's the sort of challenge the current Black Caps have learned to embrace, Taylor said, pointing to their exceptional record across the past five years.

Arguably the finest team New Zealand has produced, Kane Williamson's side is No.2 in the Test rankings and reached the final of the past two World Cups They've done it by moulding a tight, experienced group.

 

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The youngest member of the squad, at 27, is opener Tom Latham, who has 47 Tests and scored nearly 3500 runs.

"It isn't just the age factor that makes us a team who can handle an occasion," 35-year-old Taylor told AAP.

 

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"We've played a lot of big Tests together, in a couple of World Cup finals and even in the IPL there are some high pressure situations in cricket, when you're playing for an owner or millions of fans.

"I think all of that has probably helped this team deal with different situations."

 

New Zealand are fielding the core of the squad who last visited Australia four summers ago, with the most notable absence being that of retired skipper Brendon McCullum.

That team suffered a 2-0 series defeat, continuing the lopsided record between the teams on both sides of the Tasman since Richard Hadlee's heroics in 1985-86. It would have been 3-0 were it not for Taylor's record-breaking 290 in the drawn Test in Perth.

 

Ross Taylor on his way to a century against England.
Ross Taylor on his way to a century against England.

However, it hasn't stopped the optimism mounting in New Zealand. Promotional advertising for the series features an excited Hadlee saying, "It doesn't get better than this".

A headline in the New Zealand Herald on Monday read, ""How Black Caps' best ever team can become NZ sporting legends".

Taylor was sure his teammates would be ready for battle come the pink ball opener.

"In Test cricket these days, it's a lot tougher to win away from home but it still doesn't mean that it can't be done," he said.

"We just need to embrace the challenges as quick as possible and play to our strengths.

"Just keep doing what has worked for us."

 

 

News Corp Australia

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