Ross Taylor insisted it was important New Zealand maintained their standards after a fine all-round display at Edgbaston on Saturday left them on the brink of just their third Test series win in England.
The experienced batsman made a valuable 80 on the third day’s play of the second and deciding Test to help New Zealand establish a first-innings lead of 85 runs. If that was not as big an advantage as looked likely at one stage, it proved more than enough for New Zealand’s attack as they reduced England to 76-7 in their second innings.
England just avoided the humiliation of a defeat inside three days after reaching stumps on 122-9, a slender lead of 37 runs with a lone wicket standing. “You want to be professional in the way you go about it,” Taylor told reporters after stumps.
“The batters out there can score runs and if they can get a decent lead, then obviously they can get their tails up, and you never know what happens. Whatever we do, we need to do it well tomorrow and get that one wicket then go about the chase in a professional manner.”
Matt Henry, only in this side because spearhead Tim Southee was rested ahead of next week’s World Test Championship final against India at Southampton, removed the top order in a return of 3-36.
Neil Wagner followed up with 3-18 and spinner Ajaz Patel, like Henry one of an exceptional six changes to the New Zealand side that played in the drawn series opener at Lord’s, took 2-25.
New Zealand are on the cusp of joining their 1986 and 1999 predecessors as series victors in England.
England are on the brink of their first Test series loss on home soil since a 2014 reverse against Sri Lanka. This season will also see them take on India in a five-match series before they try to regain the Ashes in Australia.