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July 29, 2012
James Taylor, the Nottinghamshire batsman, has been called up for the second Test against South Africa at Headingley after Ravi Bopara was ruled out because of what the ECB said were 'personal issues'.
The first match at The Oval marked Bopara's return to the Test line-up after nearly a year out of the team but he struggled, making 0 and 22. He was due to play in Essex's CB40 match against Worcestershire on Sunday but also withdrew from that that and this latest development brings a halt to another attempt to establish himself in the Test line up.
Taylor, who played one ODI against Ireland last year, will enter the match in good form after making a century against Sussex in the current round of Championship matches, although before that innings he had a lean season in four-day cricket with one half-century in nine matches. However, he had scored a century for England Lions against the West Indians earlier this season.
Taylor was preferred ahead of Jonny Bairstow, who played the three Tests against West Indies in place of an injured Bopara, and Somerset's Nick Compton, the lead run-scorer in the Championship.
Speaking after the second day against Sussex, before news of his call up, he said: "My ultimate ambition has always been to play Test cricket and my plan at the start of the season was to try to establish myself here and win games for Nottinghamshire, to keep knocking at the door and hope that when an opportunity did arise with England I would have enough runs behind me that they couldn't not pick me.
"I always expected to score runs because I know I can but it has been good to play against first division bowling attacks and on difficult wickets. I feel good about the way things are going at the moment."
Taylor is the only change to the 13-man squad after the innings-and-12-run defeat in the opening Test at The Oval, although question marks remain over the make up of the bowling attack after England took just two wickets in 189 overs. Steven Finn and Graham Onions, who both played Championship cricket this week, are the other options should the selectors decide on a change.
The most vulnerable of the pace bowlers appears to be Tim Bresnan, although he would bring local knowledge on his home ground and can bowl long spells. Stuart Broad was below his best at The Oval but it is unlikely that England will considering leaving him out, after showing faith in him during previous slips in form.
Finn took six wickets against Durham at Chester-le-Street while, by the start of the third day, Onions had four. Both played against West Indies at Edgbaston when England rotated their pace attack and Finn showed excellent form against Australia in the one-day series.
Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: "We were outplayed during the first Test last week but it is important that this squad regroups and focuses on preparing for the second Test. This is a talented squad with plenty of international experience and they will be determined to improve on the performance during the first Test.
"We have made one change to the squad with James Taylor replacing Ravi Bopara, who is unavailable for selection due to personal reasons. James has been part of the England Performance Programme for a number of years and has performed consistently for England Lions and now has an opportunity to step up and experience the Test environment."
Squad Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, James Taylor, Matt Prior, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Graham Onions
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
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