New Zealand were chasing a formidable 336-run target by England and all seemed lost as the home side were reeling at 2/2. With his skipper Kane Williamson (45), Taylor began the fix work before the partnership of the chase ensued between him and Tom Latham, who made 71 off 67 balls in an alliance worth 187.
Throughout his innings, Ross hobbled on one leg but never let up as far as the boundaries were concerned. The previous highest score outside the top three in a chase was Marcus Stoinis' unbeaten 146 against New Zealand past year. Just as it deserves to, this brilliant series will go down to the wire in Christchurch on Saturday. When New Zealand was desperate for a win to keep their hopes in the series alive, it was one of their most experienced men, Ross Taylor who rose to the occasion on the day it mattered the most.
How costly that implosion would be wasn't initially clear after New Zealand collapsed to two for two in the third over of their chase.
Taylor, who will be 34 on Thursday, has been carrying a special bottle of wine around with him ready to mark the occasion - but those plans are now being put on hold, with isotonic drinks the main order of the next 48 hours.
He outdid both Bairstow (138) and Root (102), sharing a stand of 187 with Tom Latham (71) in response to the Yorkshire pair's 190.
"Being there at the end, in a win, (it) has to be up there", said Taylor. With this win, the hosts have levelled the five-match series 2-2.
1- Number of scores higher than Taylor's 181 made outside the top three batting positions in an ODI. They lost a scarcely-believable eight wickets for 46 runs in 11 overs with the middle-order subsiding in a rash of overly-ambitious shots.
Taylor had to take the drinks buggy across the ground to his press conference as he struggled with the thigh injury which ruled him out of the previous match. It was a good wicket, we needed to just set those little goals along the way and give ourselves a chance.
With three runs needed off the final over, Nicholls faced two dot balls then smashed Tom Curran for six as a tearful Taylor left the field to a standing ovation.
There were two late wickets for Curran, but Colin de Grandhomme's big hitting applied most of the finishing touches before Henry Nicholls settled matters with a winning six in the final over.
Bairstow continued what Roy had started, thumping Sodhi for his first and longest six (107m, apparently) over the commentary boxes down perched above the sight screen, before taking a single to move to 50 from 38 balls.