And so it ended, not with a cut, a sweep or a catch, but with a wicket.
Ross Taylor’s test career has finished in remarkable circumstances, with the New Zealand cricket great taking the final wicket as the Black Caps completed a crushing test victory over Bangladesh.
Enforcing the follow-on at the start of play, the Black Caps bowled Bangladesh out for 278, to claim victory by an innings and 117 runs.
Kyle Jamieson took four wickets, Neil Wagner three and Tim Southee and Daryl Mitchell one apiece, but with one wicket remaining, and the new ball one over away, the Black Caps turned to Taylor, a man with two test wickets who hadn’t bowled since 2013.
Facing Ebadot Hossain, who had earlier doubled his career test runs when edging Jamieson for four, Taylor’s opening off-spinner was prodded away, and the second ball pushed back to him.
The third went high into the air, and Tom Latham – later telling Taylor he’d never felt so nervous – took the catch at midwicket.
After hitting the winning runs in the World Test Championship final, Taylor’s last moment in the test arena was to seal the Black Caps’ first victory of the new World Test Championship cycle, one that moves them into sixth place on the ladder through four of a scheduled 13 tests.
It’s also a win that brushes away at least some of the distaste of their first-test defeat, with a return to a green wicket and windy conditions expectedly coinciding with a much stronger performance – one that will give the Black Caps confidence that their shock loss at the Mount was merely a blip.
Two tests against South Africa in February will provide a good gauge to the truth, but those matches will be contested without Taylor, who played his 112th and final test as he prepares for farewell ODIs against Australia and the Netherlands.
It initially didn’t look like a fairytale finish, with Taylor making 28 in the Black Caps’ only turn at bat, but his pre-test wish of concluding with a win came true, and before his bowling heroics he also claimed a catch at first slip to dismiss Mominul Haque.