It wasn’t to be but Taylor, the former captain who was demoted to equal third on the all-time Australian list when Warner surpassed his unbeaten 334, said Australia could still have been in a strong position to win had they permitted the opener a dash at Lara’s total, even with rain on the horizon.
“I reckon they probably could have, to be totally honest,” Taylor said before the final session of play on Saturday night. “There was still three days and a session and a bit left. The way Davey was scoring they probably only needed to give him another hour to bat. I think without really harming their chances they could have.
“I think it was more that Tim Paine and the Australians wanted to have a little dip before the dinner break. The good thing is it’s about winning first. Individual records go win that, but they’re not what you should play for. Cricket is a stats-based game so we talk about individual scores and bowling analysis and that sort of stuff. But at the end of the day, it’s about winning and losing the game.”
The declaration came with Warner, through a single to deep cover, edging past Taylor’s 334 not out in Pakistan in 1998 and Don Bradman’s 334 in Leeds in 1930.
It brought back memories of Taylor’s declaration before the third morning’s play in Peshawar 21 years ago, having equalled Bradman’s sacred mark, then the Australian record, the previous evening.
However, Taylor has made no secret of the fact that he did not set out to deliberately draw level with Bradman and could have claimed the record in the final two deliveries he faced that day had two strokes off the bowling of Aamir Sohail not been stopped by Ijaz Ahmed at mid-wicket, one of them athletically.
“I had two balls on 334 and I just played them as I played all the other ones,” said Taylor, who is commentating in Adelaide for Macquarie Sports Radio. “As I said many years ago, had Ijaz Ahmed not knocked the last one down at mid-wicket, I think it was, I’d have ended up on 335 myself because I would have taken the run.
“As it turned out, that was stumps, so I had time to think about what to do. I thought about batting on only because I wanted to put them back out in the field for a third day in Peshawar. But that’s when the score came into it. I didn’t want people to assume I went out to bat just to pass Bradman’s score. It would have been what I thought was best for us to win the game of cricket. As it turned out we had a draw.”