Mark Taylor (cricketer) : biography
Taylor played his best cricket of the summer in the Third Test at Sydney. Last man out for 49 in a total of 116 in the first innings,Perry (1999), p. 223. he defied a pitch that had begun to seam and swing after a shower and cloud cover as Australia narrowly avoided the follow on. In the second innings, he made a bold attempt at chasing a world record target of 449 by scoring 113, but Australia played for a draw after Slater and Taylor fell following double-century stand. Australia collapsed to 7/292 before hanging on in near-darkness.Perry (1999), pp. 224–225.Piesse, pp. 48–50. In the final two Tests, he scored half-centuries as Australia won 3–1. Australia dramatically lost the Fourth Test when England led by only 154 on the final day with four wickets in hand. Aggressive lower order batting saw Australia set 328 in just over two sessions, but a heavy collapse saw Australia eight wickets down with more than hours to play. Almost two hours of resistance later, England took a 106-run win late in day.Perry (1999), pp. 229–230. However, Australia bounced back to win the Fifth Test by 329 runs, the largest margin of the series. Taylor’s partnership with Slater yielded three century opening stands at an average of 76.60 for the series and Taylor’s individual return was 471 runs at 47.10.
The southern hemisphere summer ended with a quadrangular tournament in New Zealand, where Australia won two of their three group matches to proceed to the final. Taylor scored 44 in a six-wicket triumph over New Zealand and totalled 165 runs at 41.25. His best score was 97 against the hosts in the preliminary round meant that he was still yet to post his first ODI century, five years after his debut.
Caribbean tour 1995
This victory was followed by the 1995 tour of the West Indies, where Australia had not won a Test series for 22 years.Piesse, p. 64. Australia lost the ODI series which preceded the Tests 1–4, with Taylor making 152 runs at 30.40. The difficulty of Australia’s task was increased when fast bowlers Craig McDermott and Damien Fleming went home injured at the start of the tour. Australia fielded a pace attack of Glenn McGrath, Brendon Julian and Paul Reiffel who had played only 23 Tests between them. Despite this, Australia won by ten wickets in the first Test at Barbados, with Taylor contributing a half-century.Piesse, p. 225. After the Second Test was a rained-out draw, the West Indies beat Australia inside three days on a "green" Trinidad pitch in the Third Test.Piesse, pp. 69–70. Australia regained the Frank Worrell Trophy with an innings victory in the Fourth Test at Jamaica, with Taylor taking the winning catch from the bowling of Shane Warne.Piesse, p. 73. Although he only managed 153 runs (at 25.50 average) for the series, Taylor held nine catches and his leadership was cited as a key factor in the result.Piesse, p. 75.
Controversy with Sri Lanka
This was followed by a two three-Test series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka respectively in the 1995–96 Australian season.Piesse, pp. 225–226. The Pakistan series began among a media circus when Salim Malik arrived with publicity focused on the bribery allegations which had surfaced year earlier.Piesse, pp. 82–84. Australia won the First Test in Brisbane by an innings in three and a half days, with Taylor contributing 69.Piesse, pp. 84–85. In the Second Test at Bellerive Oval, Taylor scored 123 in the second innings to set up a winning total. In the Third Test in Sydney, he made 59 as Australia collapsed for 172 in the second innings and conceded the match.Piesse, pp. 86, 225. He ended the series with a healthy 338 runs at 67.60.
The subsequent Test and ODI series involving Sri Lanka were overshadowed by a series of spiteful clashes.Piesse, pp. 87–94. The Tests were won 3–0 by the Australians with heavy margins of an innings, ten wickets and 148 runs respectively.Piesse, p. 28. Taylor’s highlight being a 96 in the First Test at Perth as he compiled 159 runs at 39.75. He also made his 100th Test catch during the series.Piesse, p. 89. After accusations of ball tampering were levelled against the tourists in the First Test,Piesse, p. 87. leading spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was no-balled seven times in the Second Test, and during the ODI series, the Sri Lankans accused Taylor’s men of cheating. The season hit a low point with the Sri Lankans which saw the teams refuse to shake hands at the end of the second final of the triangular series which Australia won 2–0. The match had included physical jostling between McGrath and Sanath Jayasuriya mid pitch, with the latter accusing McGrath of making racist attacks.Piesse, p. 88. Later in the match, stump microphones showed Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy alleging that portly Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga was feigning injury and calling for a runner because of his lack of physical fitness.