WELLINGTON - New Zealand's Ross Taylor tormented the West Indies' bowlers Wednesday, making the most of an early let-off to score a century on the first day of the second Test as the home side reached 307 for six. The former skipper, who scored an unbeaten double century in the series opener, was dismissed shortly before close of play at Wellington's Basin Reserve for 129 when Shane Shillingford pulled off a diving catch.

In-form Taylor arrived at the crease with the home side in deep trouble at 24-2 on a green wicket and was dropped before he got off the mark. In conditions that favoured the bowlers, the 29-year-old forged half-century partnerships with Kane Williamson, Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson to swing the match New Zealand's way, taking the sting out of the second new ball with BJ Watling.

Taylor has amassed a total of 362 runs in just three innings and been dismissed just once. He also passed 4,000 Test runs during his innings and now has an average of 46.52, topping the list of New Zealand batsmen who have played a minimum of 20 innings. After his early life when dropped in the slips by Kirk Edwards, Taylor offered another opportunity on 122 when Tino Best spilled a catch at fine leg. That came just after Taylor had belted 13 runs off one over by the West Indies quick.

But he was seldom under pressure as he faced 227 balls and hit 15 boundaries before slashing at Shannon Gabriel and being well caught by Shillingford. New Zealand's cause was also helped by the inability of West Indies strike bowlers Best and Gabriel to maintain the good line and length that saw them claim openers Peter Fulton and Hamish Rutherford in quick succession.

Fulton, whose leg before wicket first ball dismissal was overturned on appeal, did not make the most of his reprieve as he poked at a Darren Sammy delivery outside off-stump a few overs later and was caught behind for six. Rutherford, dropped by Sammy on eight, made only three more runs before chasing a shorter Best delivery, which he edged to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.

Kane Williamson, returning to the New Zealand line-up after missing the Dunedin Test with a thumb injury, scored freely until he reached 45, when he flashed at a wide Best delivery to be caught by Sammy in the slips. McCullum and Anderson, like Williamson, also made solid starts before being undone. McCullum spooned an innocuous Narsingh Deonarine delivery to Edwards without adding to his teatime score of 37 while Anderson fell to Shillingford for 38 after earlier hitting the spinner for two sixes. Best was the most successful of the West Indies bowlers, with two for 66 off 14 overs while part-time spinner Deonarine proved the most economical with 1-39 off 16 overs.

Meanwhile, New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor declared himself to be in his "best mindset" ever following another century against the West Indies Wednesday, one year after being dumped as captain. He was dismissed to a standing ovation shortly before stumps after completing his 10th Test century and moving further up the all-time New Zealand batting list.

In his 52nd Test, he passed the 4,000 run milestone, moved to the top of the New Zealand batting averages and passed Stephen Fleming to be fourth on the list of New Zealand century-makers.

It was a confident performance far removed from the despondent Taylor of a year ago when his morale was hit hard after being dumped as New Zealand captain, sending him into a self-imposed exile for four months. Taylor questioned whether he was in the best form of his life but said there was no doubt "I'm in the best mindset I've ever been in". He was dropped in the slips by Kirk Edwards before getting off the mark, but went on to occupy the crease for more than five hours.

"A bit of luck early on in the innings is always nice, and I thought it was there to hit," he said. "After 20-30 balls I got to where I wanted to be (mentally)." Taylor said a score of 307-6 on a bowler's wicket had set New Zealand up and if they can reach 380-400 it "will put the West Indies under some pressure" in conditions ripe for the New Zealand pace attack. "We just naturally bowl that little bit fuller and we swing the ball, where they nip the ball around a little bit. (Darren) Sammy's probably their only genuine swing bowler."

Scoreboard

NEW ZEALAND 1ST INNINGS:

P Fulton c Ramdin b Sammy    6

H Rutherford c Ramdin b Best    11

K Williamson c Sammy b Best    45

R Taylor c Shillingford b Gabriel    129

B McCullum c Edwards b Deonarine    37

C Anderson c Edwards b Shillingford    38

B Watling not out    8

T Southee not out    9

EXTRAS: (b16, lb6, nb2)    24

TOTAL: (6 wickets; 90 overs)    307

FOW: 1-14, 2-24, 3-112, 4-189, 5-257, 6-296

BOWLING: Best 14-1-66-2, Gabriel 18-4-56-1, Sammy 19-3-65-1, Shillingford 23-4-59-1, Deonarine 16-2-39-1

TOSS: West Indies

UMPIRES: Ian Gould (ENG), Paul Reiffel (AUS)

TV UMPIRE: Nigel Llong (ENG)

MATCH REFEREE: Roshan Mahanama (SRI)