Alastair Cook's [ Images ] patient knock of 78 anchored a well-executed England [ Images ] run chase of 270 to beat New Zealand [ Images ] by eight wickets in the second One-day International at McLeanPark, levelling the three-match series at 1-1 on Wednesday.
England's bowlers, particularly James Anderson [ Images ], had done a superb job to dismiss New Zealand for 269 in 48.5 overs at a small venue with short square boundaries, where a score of at least 300 was needed to set a competitive total.
Joe Root (79 not out) then picked up from where Cook left off when the captain was dismissed by Tim Southee [ Images ], while Jonathan Trott finished on 65 not out as England easily chased down the total for the loss of two wickets in 47.4 overs.
England's victory ensured the series finale at EdenPark in Auckland on Saturday would be a decider after New Zealand won the first match in Hamilton on Sunday by three wickets.
Taylor, who was dumped as captain by coach Mike Hesson in December and chose not to tour South Africa [ Images ], had barely played any cricket since and had looked rusty in his return to the international scene.
The 28-year-old took a little time to get into his stride and also curbed his attacking instincts to anchor the innings after England's opening bowlers Anderson and Steve Finn had put the hosts under immense pressure.
Taylor combined with Kane Williamson [ Images ] (33) in a 72-run partnership, then 52 runs with Grant Elliott [ Images ] (23) for the fourth wicket before the latter was dismissed by Finn in the first over of the batting powerplay to leave New Zealand struggling at 143-4 in the 36th over.
McCullum, however, then thrashed nine fours and four sixes in a 44-minute knock that included a 100-run partnership with Taylor, 77 of which came in 5.5 overs.
McCullum's dismissal then sparked a collapse with the final five wickets falling for 26 runs as Anderson returned to mop up the tail and finished with impressive figures of five for 34.
Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images