England Lions v West Indians, Northampton, 2nd day May 11, 2012

Taylor gives the selectors a nudge


James Taylor was relieved to finally be rewarded after a month battling in bowler-friendly conditions as his hundred put England Lions in a commanding position against the West Indians. The home side built a lead of 194 before nipping out three wickets to set themselves up for a three-day victory push on Saturday.

Taylor has not scored a fifty in the County Championship for Nottinghamshire, his new county, so far this season although feels he has played well against the moving ball and this time managed to convert his start into a substantial contribution.

"I'm really pleased; it's about time to be fair, it's been a tough season so far," he said. "I've scored some gritty runs and it was ideal to score some runs at the right time. I dug in and I think we put on a hundred for the last two wickets which has put us in a really strong position for the rest of the game."

He could not have wished for a better audience, either, with all the England selectors, Andy Flower and a host of ECB officials in attendance in Northampton, although few remained when Taylor reached his hundred during the final session. Having slipped a little off the radar over the last six months he will not have done his future chances any harm. The injury scare surrounding Ravi Bopara, even though it could turn out to be minor, showed how quickly an opportunity can arise.

"We saw them all around at certain points of the day but you don't really think about the selectors when you are batting; it's just about the next ball and trying to play it. But it's always nice to score a hundred in front of them."

It was far from all plain sailing for the Lions during the day as they fell to 98 for 5 during the morning session, with the West Indian bowlers showing why they will pose a threat to England during the Test series. Then, during the afternoon, it appeared the Lions lead would be kept under three figures but Taylor combined with the lower order - including a last-wicket stand of 64 with Jade Dernbach - to give the visitors the runaround.

"It's the worst time in cricket, when the tailenders are scoring runs and it was perfect for us to get those runs," he said. "It was so annoying for them."

However, having had first-hand experience of a lengthy stay against the visiting bowling attack he was well aware that they will be a handful during the Test series. "They have some quick balls in them, those boys, and they showed it," he said. "Luckily today was my day and I came out OK. They have some quality bowlers who get pace and bounce. It was nice to come up against them and to get runs."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Zorina on May 13, 2012, 23:03 GMT

    It is good that from among the Lions, the English selectors can see options for the future of test cricket. Wish I could say the same for the West Indies team, a hastily put together assortment that the WICB plans to make into a test team. I maintain that the test team is not the place to train players. But since the factory High Performance Centre is not doing so well, I guess the players must be placed on the team for the sponsors to keep spending the money.

  • RAYMOND on May 13, 2012, 15:50 GMT

    well i guess the sammy bashers don't have much to say. if only sammy was playing maybe they could have had a better showing than they did. our stike bowlers minus sammy couldn't get a team out twice..would have been a more competitive game if sammy was playing..

  • R on May 13, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    oh yes, jelly belly has an ave of 158 v Bdesh, and an ave of 32 v Aus... and 8.5 v pakistan on the recent tour... get someone with some vertibrae who can score a ton on his own ; )

  • John on May 13, 2012, 7:22 GMT

    @TontonZolaMoukoko on (May 12 2012, 09:17 AM GMT), that's a good point you make about Bairstow's keeping. If he gets a regular spot in the Test team (which I think he will in the future but not yet) then he won't be keeping for Yorkshire or the Lions, so he won't have the same opportunities to develop that side of his game. If he is a regular in the Test team though, he's also likely to be a regular in the ODI and T20 teams. That would put some pressure on Kieswetter as keeper. Given that Kieswetter isn't opening in ODIs any more and many see him as less effective down the order, that might put pressure on his place altogether. I wonder who the England selectors consider to be the better keeper. I know nothing about Bairstow's keeping but, while you wouldn't mistake Kieswetter for an Akmal brother, he's not always 100% either.

  • Ross on May 13, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    Taylor's the wrong nationality to play for England - surely?

  • Matthew on May 12, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    This should be the test Eleven: Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pieterson, Bell, Compton, Prior, Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Anderson The top 5 need no explanation, Compton is in amazing form and Bresnan has just taken a 5 for and will enforce the batting. Series Result England 3 West Indies 0

  • Dummy4 on May 12, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    Surely this is a great opportunity to have some competition for middle order slots? Bell and Morgan have been out of touch and Bopara has never really performed to expectations. Our batting needs the same kind of competition for places and depth that our bowling attack has. Picking Taylor and Bairstow will send a strong signal to the other batsmen that there is no room for complacency. If having two debutantes is too adventurous for the selectors, then at least have one. In that case I would go for Taylor.

  • Dummy4 on May 12, 2012, 10:02 GMT

    This guy has been on the fringe for a long time now and surely deserves a chance in the Windies...

  • Christopher on May 12, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    VillageBlacksmith - There are plenty of sticks to beat Ian Bell with, so why make up fictitious stats for him? He actually averages over 42 against non-Bangladesh test opposition, which isn't too shoddy. You then go and champion Morgan, who genuinely does average 30 in test cricket - and only 35 in fc cricket! He's a bloody good ODI and T20 player, but he's never a test player.

    I would have been happy to go with Bopara if no-one had stepped up in this game, but Taylor clearly has. He's been touted for a couple of years and now it's his turn surely. Bairstow looks very promising too and barring a really poor season he'll be on the fringes this summer and with the added bonus of his keeping abilities he must surely be a winter tourist for the test squad.

  • Martin on May 12, 2012, 8:49 GMT

    Sure - our "Young Guns" are young, but we seem to remember a certain DJ Gower making a 50 on his debut at 21 and a certain AJ Cook making his debut at 21 knocking a 50 and a ton in his first 2 Test match innings in the Test at Nagpur. The point is; if you're good enough - then you are old enough. He might only be 22 but this lad Taylor is made of steel. He's already been around - with a first class average a shade under 50. He's facing a Test match bowling attack in bowler friendly conditions with the team he is captaining right on the ropes. What does he do -? He comes out and has a go. That's good cricket in anyones book. Well done. Will watch his development with keen interest. TBH - with that sort of attitude we'd like to see Taylor rather than Bopara. The Aussies had Bopara's number in 2009. @VillageBlacksmith aka @RandyOz. Rubbish.

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