England won the Twenty20 three-match series 2-1 to start off its tour of New Zealand, but the Black Caps hit back to win the opening one-day international meaning that the tourists had to win on Wednesday at McLean Park to force a deciding third match on Saturday.
England captain Alastair Cook won the toss and elected to send New Zealand into bat first, and it paid off early on when James Anderson picked up the wickets of BJ Watling for seven and Hamish Rutherford for 11.
The Black Caps were then 2-19 and the going was incredibly slow with nine overs already elapsed. Things picked up, but only slightly, in a 72-run partnership between Kane Williamson and Taylor off 100 balls before Chris Woakes bowled Williamson for 33.
After Grant Elliott was out for 23 and New Zealand was 4-143 after 36 overs, former captain Taylor and the man who replaced him in uncomfortable circumstances Brendon McCullum came together at the crease.
The pair batted tremendously in a stand of 100 in just 53 balls with McCullum absolutely on fire smashing 74 from just 36 deliveries with nine fours and four massive sixes.
He eventually fell for 74 and no one else in the lower order for New Zealand managed more than seven, but Taylor hung in long enough to reach his century. But 100 was where his innings ended as he was caught behind off Anderson after a tremendous knock.
New Zealand was bowled out for 269 inside 49 overs with Anderson outstanding with the ball for England taking 5-34 from 9.5 overs. Woakes took 3-68, Finn 1-33 and Stuart Broad was expensive with 1-69 from nine.
England was completely untroubled in its run chase from the outset with Cook and Ian Bell making a tremendous start putting on 89 for the first wicket before Bell was out for 44.
Cook was the next to go for 78 when caught and bowled by Tim Southee, but Jonathon Trott (65 not out) and Joe Root (79 not out) then cruised to the total with England reaching 2-270 in just 47.4 overs.
England captain Cook was much happier with the overall performance after the poor effort in the first one-dayer, but credits Anderson and Finn the most for the final result for their efforts with the ball.
"I thought the way we bowled up front was outstanding. Steven Finn and James Anderson really bowled well and we gave them nothing really to get going, and we took some wickets to put them under pressure," Cook said.
"It was only really a fantastic knock from Brendon McCullum which got them up to a decent score. We did find it tough when Ross and Brendon were going to keep them down, but we knew 270 was probably a little bit below par on a fantastic wicket like that.
"We knew how tough it was going to be when we started this tour and over the first two one-dayers both teams have had chances to win, and it's 1-1 and deciders like this are what you want to play in."
McCullum was disappointed in the end that the Black Caps were only able to post 270 especially with the good partnership he put on with Taylor, but in the end acknowledged England was just too good on the day with bat and ball.
"It probably wasn’t enough runs. I think we were probably 20 runs under par and obviously where we got to in the end after being a little bit slow at the start at least was a defendable total if we had of taken wickets up front," McCullum said.
"The England bowlers put us under a lot of pressure early on to keep us at bay and then with their batters they played brilliantly to be able to knock off 270 reasonably comfortably.
"I was really pleased for Ross, though, to bounce back to score 100 and it was just a shame it wasn’t a winning one. It was great to see him out there scoring some runs and tick off another milestone.
"It's a bizarre series so far where you win one, lose one, win one and lose one. With the way it looks at the moment hopefully we will win the series 2-1, but there were areas today we were happy with and other areas we felt we were short in."