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