Double-ton Taylor Denies 160kmh Starc As New Zealand Fight Back

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Double-ton Taylor denies 160kmh Starc as New Zealand fight back By [/home/search.html?s=&authornamef=Afp Afp]
Published: 12:26 BST, 15 November 2015 | Updated: 12:27 BST, 15 November 2015
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New Zealand's Ross Taylor saw off record-breaking paceman Mitchell Starc to post a defiant double century as the tourists batted their way back into contention in the second Test against Australia at the WACA Ground on Sunday.

In reply to Australia's formidable 559 for nine declared on a placid wicket, the Kiwis were 510 for six at stumps, trailing by just 49 runs.

Taylor emerged from a form slump to notch his second Test double century and was a career-best 235 not out at stumps, with Mark Craig on seven.
New Zealand's batsman Ross Taylor plays a shot during day three of the second Test against Australia in Perth on November 15, 2015 ©Tony Ashby (AFP)

The top-order batsman posted a new benchmark for visiting players at the WACA during a game in which records have tumbled and also became the first New Zealander to score a Test double century against Australia.

Fellow century-maker Kane Williamson became one of the four youngest players to reach 12 Test centuries when he made 166, while Starc bowled what is believed to be the fastest recorded delivery in Test cricket.

Williamson rarely looked troubled in posting his second century in as many matches, before mistiming a pull shot off Josh Hazlewood and was caught at mid-on by Mitchell Johnson to end a 265-run stand with Taylor, a new best for New Zealand in Tests against Australia.

He faced 250 balls in 390 minutes and hit 24 boundaries.

The 25-year-old made 140 and 59 in the first Test at the Gabba, which New Zealand lost by 208 runs, and continued that form in Perth.

It was his 12th Test century and only three other players have scored as many centuries at the same age -- the others being Sachin Tendulkar (16), Don Bradman (13) and Alastair Cook (12).

- Records tumble -

However, Williamson played down the comparisons.

"I don't think I'm in that company," he said.

"It is just nice to be scoring runs, helping the team out, trying to move the team forward and trying to get results, that's what it's about."

Williamson has made centuries in five of his past seven Tests against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, England and Australia.

Taylor took some time to settle but recovered to post his 13th Test hundred and looked increasingly comfortable during his innings.

It was a welcome performance for the classy Taylor, who has been struggling with form for some time and had not scored a Test century since November last year.

Starc raised the home crowd from its run-fuelled stupor when he sent down a 160.4 kilometres per hour (99.7 miles per hour) thunderbolt to Taylor before tea.

It was part of a fiery spell from the left-armer and was the fourth-fastest delivery ever recorded, with Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar holding the record with 161.3 kph.

Australian duo Brett Lee and Shaun Tait both once clocked at 161.1 kph, and seventies firebrand Jeff Thomson is the only other player recorded at over 160 kph.

However, none of that group performed the feat in Test cricket.

While he did not want to be drawn on the accuracy of the speed reading on that particular delivery, Starc did believe it was one of his fastest spells.

"It was nice to have rhythm and have the ball coming out nicely," he said.

"It felt really good."

Fellow paceman Mitchell Johnson moved into fourth on the all-time list of Australian Test wicket-takers when he removed Doug Bracewell late in the day to claim his 311th scalp, passing Brett Lee.

Australia did not help their own cause with some dropped catches, while there was embarrassment for local officials early in the day, with play halted for 17 minutes by a malfunctioning sightscreen.
New Zealand's Kane Williamson acknowledges the crowd after scoring a century during day three of the second Test against Australia in Perth on November 15, 2015 ©Tony Ashby (AFP)
Australia's Mitchell Starc has joined a select group of cricketers who have been recorded as bowling at more than 160 kilometres per hour ©Saeed Khan (AFP/File)