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'I felt a lot better' - Ross Taylor happy to find form ahead of WTC final

It may not have been pretty, but Ross Taylor edged and clawed his way to just his second half-century in his last 15 Test innings, scoring 80 in New Zealand's first innings against England at Edgbaston last night.

Ross Taylor played his shots on the third morning of the second Test between New Zealand and England at Edgbaston. Source: Getty

It's no secret that the 37-year-old batsman has been struggling for form in recent times, and it looked like merely a matter of time before he was dismissed during the early part of his innings on the afternoon of the second day, as England's experienced duo of Stuart Broad and James Anderson beat his outside edge seemingly every other ball.

But Taylor dug his feet in and survived until stumps, ending the day unbeaten on 46.

The ability to see off such a difficult period seemed to give the Kiwi stalwart confidence, as he came out playing his shots on the third morning, quickly racing past fifty.

He was given a reprieve on 68, when Sam Billings put down a top-edged hook at fine leg, and a century eluded him when he snicked off to Olly Stone on 80.

However, it was a vital knock for Taylor and for New Zealand, with the World Test Championship final looming next week, and he said he was happy with how he stuck it out.

"I got a good working over from Anderson and Broad yesterday and it was nice to see through that," Taylor said at the end of the third day's play.

"I probably haven’t scored as many runs as I would’ve liked over the last little while, and just as Test cricket happens if you don’t score runs in the first innings you don’t get much opportunity in the third.

"It was nice to contribute and get through that tough period. I felt a lot better today and got into a bit of rhythm.

"Sometimes you’ve just got to find a way to score runs whether it’s pretty or ugly. I was happy with the way I stuck out there and got through that."

Taylor's knock, along with Devon Conway's 80 and Will Young's 82, helped New Zealand post 388, with a first innings lead of 85.

The Black Caps bowlers, without front-line seamers Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson, then decimated the English top order, reducing the hosts to 76 for seven, and eventually 122 for nine at stumps.

In a show of remarkable depth, New Zealand made six changes to the side that drew at Lord's a week ago, and Taylor credited the incoming players on their ability to step up to the occasion.

"The experience is there but the guys who haven’t played a lot of cricket feel comfortable in the group and they stepped up at different stages.

"It’s a credit to all the players and all the support staff through what has been a good campaign for a long period of time to get that experience in there but hopefully the guys can continue learning and continue to get better."

The Black Caps need just one wicket when they take to the field on the fourth day tonight, with victory likely to be wrapped up by lunch.

"The positive is that our bowlers will get a day’s break leading into [the World Test Championship final]," Taylor said.

"It's such a quick turnaround but for them to bowl as well as they have done that extra day’s rest will be very important heading into that next game."