Mark Taylor (cricketer) : biography
At the end of the day’s play, Taylor was encouraged by the media, the public and his teammates to attempt to break Brian Lara’s world record score of 375.Piesse, p. 170. An unusually large crowd turned out the following day in anticipation. However, Taylor declared the innings closed, opting to share the record with Bradman, and making the team’s chances of winning the game paramount. He was widely praised for this decision. He made 92 in the second innings, giving him the second highest Test match aggregate after English batsmen Graham Gooch, who scored 333 and 123 for a total of 456 against India at Lord’s on 26 July 1990.http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/content/records/282847.html His fifteen hours batting in one Test was second only to Hanif Mohammad.Piesse, p. 111. The match ended in a draw, as did the Third Test, so Australia won the series and Taylor ended with 513 runs at 128.25 average.
Taylor’s swansong was the 1998–99 Ashes series against England, which began with his 100th Test in the First Test in Brisbane. He scored 46 and a duck—his first in Australia—as England were saved when thunderstorms forced the abandonment of play on the final afternoon.Piesse, pp. 175–177. Two half centuries in the next two Tests in Perth and Adelaide saw Australia win by seven wickets and 205 runs respectively, thereby retaining the series 2–0.Piesse, p. 177. After losing the Fourth Test by 12 runs after a dramatic final day collapse,Piesse, pp. 179–180. Taylor headed to his home ground, the Sydney Cricket Ground, for what would be his final Test. Australia went on to win the Test by 98 runs and take the series 3–1. Taylor only scored two in both innings, but he broke Border’s world record for the most Test catches. His catch in the first innings equalled Border’s 156 and another in the second made him the sole owner of the record.Piesse, pp. 182–183.
He also jointly holds the record in Test cricket (along with Ian Healy) of being the only cricketers to have been run out in both innings of a Test on two occasions.
File:Mark Taylor holding Crystal Urn.jpg|Mark Taylor after winning the Ashes in 1999.
The improvement of the Australian team, begun during Border’s tenure, continued under the captaincy of Taylor. After the defeat of the West Indies in 1995, Taylor’s teams won home and away series against every Test team they played, with the exception of winning a series in India. Wisden wrote:
Taylor talked so well that he raised the standard of debate in Australia—and perhaps of cricket itself—in a way which was an example to all professional cricketers … Border stopped Australia losing. Taylor made them into winners, the acknowledged if not official world champions of Test cricket. Retrieved 20 September 2007.
Taylor made a concerted effort to decrease the amount of sledging committed by his team, a trait that brought criticism of Australian teams during other eras. In total, he captained the side in 50 Tests, winning 26 and losing 13, a success rate unmatched in the previous fifty years except for Don Bradman and Viv Richards.