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

Taylor gives the selectors a nudge

19

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

  • noplay 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.

  • sugars 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..

  • VillageBlacksmith 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 ; )

  • jmcilhinney 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_Co on May 13, 2012, 6:16 GMT

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

  • stickman7 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

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • TontonZolaMoukoko 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.

  • 5wombats 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.

  • noplay 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.

  • sugars 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..

  • VillageBlacksmith 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 ; )

  • jmcilhinney 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_Co on May 13, 2012, 6:16 GMT

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

  • stickman7 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

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • TontonZolaMoukoko 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.

  • 5wombats 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.

  • SirViv1973 on May 12, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    I don't really see the logic in playing Bopara in the series against WI. RB has filled his boots against WI in the past and may well do so again given the opportunity but the problem is he has struggled against all the other attacks he batted against in tests. I would like to see Taylor or possibly Bairstow given a chance against WI as both look better long term prospects. As for those mentioning Samit there is no chance of him playing in any of the tests this summer. Although he did a decent job as a 5th bowler in SRL he didn't score any runs. Eng won't be worried about the 5th bowler playing at home so they will just pick the guy they think will score the most runs,

  • VillageBlacksmith on May 12, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    yep, would love to see the back of the over-hyped and the permanently under performing bopara.. I would love to see Morgan back at full form, but failing that give Taylor, Compton or Bairstow (the new morgan?!) a go, and put Bell on notice as well to perform, esp with the tail like Taylor did, or he's also gone. Bell is a passenger (ave 30 when you take out his B'desh ave of 158!) and cannot score a ton on his own. The odd 'sublime' 30 is not good enough for test cricket, esp the test cricket coming up in the next 24 months.

  • jmcilhinney on May 12, 2012, 7:10 GMT

    The state of this match really does make comments regarding depth in English cricket from certain fans of other teams laughable. Different conditions, yes, but looking at the stats alone, this Lions side is performing as well against WI as the full Australia team did recently. Batting in England at the moment is definitely difficult, as evidenced by numerous poor scores from county sides, and I'm sure things got easier for the Lions when the sun came out but the fact that they have WI in trouble again in the 2nd innings is damning. You can excuse the batsmen somewhat based on unfamiliar and trying conditions but the bowlers failed to take full advantage of those conditions and yet again let the opposition tail cause them trouble. The fact that Taylor made a hundred in trying circumstances when Australia managed only one in three Tests in WI tells me that, while they may not be ready for prime time right now, England has depth in batting and it will be ready when needed.

  • jmcilhinney on May 12, 2012, 4:53 GMT

    It was said earlier that Samit Patel was technically the man in possession of the final batting spot after playing in SL but that is a very tenuous technicality. That selection was very much "horses for courses", with Patel's bowling as significant a reason as his batting. With his bowling unlikely to have impact in England, I doubt that he's ever been seriously considered for a Test place this summer. The fact that Bopara is not playing this game suggests that he's already got the nod to bat at #6, barring injury. These were important innings for Taylor and Bairstow but almost certainly still not enough to get them a run in the Tests against WI. If Taylor can carry this form into the rest of the CC then he should at least be back on the EPP next time around. With Bairstow scoring heavily in CC, albeit div 2, he may be in line for a Test spot next summer. One or more spots could open up if Bopara, Strauss or Bell fail to live up to expectations this summer and/or coming winter.

  • landl47 on May 12, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    Taylor and Bairstow are both only 22 and, although they are fine young cricketers, I'm not sure they are ready for test cricket yet. If one of the two were to be chosen against the WI, it would be more likely to be Bairstow. However, with Coles and Stokes staking claims as all-rounders and Brooks looking good as a seamer, England has a lot of talent coming up. This game has England's second-string batsmen (only Bell is likely to be in the test team) and third-string bowlers and they still look like beating WI's best by an innings.

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on May 12, 2012, 3:20 GMT

    strauss cook trott kp bell compton prior broad swann anderson onions dat shud be the eng xi

  • on May 12, 2012, 1:41 GMT

    If Strauss, Cook Petersen & Bell want to regain form Andy Flower should let them bat at 8, 9, 10 & 11 @ Lord's next week.This is @ least the 3rd time since year the last 3 or 4 wickets added well over a hundred runs vs the West Indies bowling attack. For all the improvements we have seen Roach, Edwards & co still do not have that killer instinct so that when they have the opposition on the ropes they go for the jugular. Tailenders continually making runs against us while our top order cant put 30 runs on the board before we are 3 wickets down? The selectors refuse to make sensible decisions & yet WICB wants the support of the fans. Windies cricket is a joke.

  • Long-Leg on May 11, 2012, 22:09 GMT

    @sephotrig: I couldn't agree more. With all due respect to the West Indies, they are not a strong test side and the forthcoming series is the perfect opportunity to give one of the youngsters a taste of the big time. I suspect however that the selectors will feel that they are not yet ready for this step up and they will pick Bopara instead.

  • sephotrig on May 11, 2012, 21:09 GMT

    I would much prefer either Taylor or Bairstow in the first test squad than Bopara, Bopara has shown a weakness against good seam attacks, such as the South African one coming over later in the summer and would be an ideal opportunity to give one of these 2 a chance to settle in in the 3 tests against the West Indies.

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  • sephotrig on May 11, 2012, 21:09 GMT

    I would much prefer either Taylor or Bairstow in the first test squad than Bopara, Bopara has shown a weakness against good seam attacks, such as the South African one coming over later in the summer and would be an ideal opportunity to give one of these 2 a chance to settle in in the 3 tests against the West Indies.

  • Long-Leg on May 11, 2012, 22:09 GMT

    @sephotrig: I couldn't agree more. With all due respect to the West Indies, they are not a strong test side and the forthcoming series is the perfect opportunity to give one of the youngsters a taste of the big time. I suspect however that the selectors will feel that they are not yet ready for this step up and they will pick Bopara instead.

  • on May 12, 2012, 1:41 GMT

    If Strauss, Cook Petersen & Bell want to regain form Andy Flower should let them bat at 8, 9, 10 & 11 @ Lord's next week.This is @ least the 3rd time since year the last 3 or 4 wickets added well over a hundred runs vs the West Indies bowling attack. For all the improvements we have seen Roach, Edwards & co still do not have that killer instinct so that when they have the opposition on the ropes they go for the jugular. Tailenders continually making runs against us while our top order cant put 30 runs on the board before we are 3 wickets down? The selectors refuse to make sensible decisions & yet WICB wants the support of the fans. Windies cricket is a joke.

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on May 12, 2012, 3:20 GMT

    strauss cook trott kp bell compton prior broad swann anderson onions dat shud be the eng xi

  • landl47 on May 12, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    Taylor and Bairstow are both only 22 and, although they are fine young cricketers, I'm not sure they are ready for test cricket yet. If one of the two were to be chosen against the WI, it would be more likely to be Bairstow. However, with Coles and Stokes staking claims as all-rounders and Brooks looking good as a seamer, England has a lot of talent coming up. This game has England's second-string batsmen (only Bell is likely to be in the test team) and third-string bowlers and they still look like beating WI's best by an innings.

  • jmcilhinney on May 12, 2012, 4:53 GMT

    It was said earlier that Samit Patel was technically the man in possession of the final batting spot after playing in SL but that is a very tenuous technicality. That selection was very much "horses for courses", with Patel's bowling as significant a reason as his batting. With his bowling unlikely to have impact in England, I doubt that he's ever been seriously considered for a Test place this summer. The fact that Bopara is not playing this game suggests that he's already got the nod to bat at #6, barring injury. These were important innings for Taylor and Bairstow but almost certainly still not enough to get them a run in the Tests against WI. If Taylor can carry this form into the rest of the CC then he should at least be back on the EPP next time around. With Bairstow scoring heavily in CC, albeit div 2, he may be in line for a Test spot next summer. One or more spots could open up if Bopara, Strauss or Bell fail to live up to expectations this summer and/or coming winter.

  • jmcilhinney on May 12, 2012, 7:10 GMT

    The state of this match really does make comments regarding depth in English cricket from certain fans of other teams laughable. Different conditions, yes, but looking at the stats alone, this Lions side is performing as well against WI as the full Australia team did recently. Batting in England at the moment is definitely difficult, as evidenced by numerous poor scores from county sides, and I'm sure things got easier for the Lions when the sun came out but the fact that they have WI in trouble again in the 2nd innings is damning. You can excuse the batsmen somewhat based on unfamiliar and trying conditions but the bowlers failed to take full advantage of those conditions and yet again let the opposition tail cause them trouble. The fact that Taylor made a hundred in trying circumstances when Australia managed only one in three Tests in WI tells me that, while they may not be ready for prime time right now, England has depth in batting and it will be ready when needed.

  • VillageBlacksmith on May 12, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    yep, would love to see the back of the over-hyped and the permanently under performing bopara.. I would love to see Morgan back at full form, but failing that give Taylor, Compton or Bairstow (the new morgan?!) a go, and put Bell on notice as well to perform, esp with the tail like Taylor did, or he's also gone. Bell is a passenger (ave 30 when you take out his B'desh ave of 158!) and cannot score a ton on his own. The odd 'sublime' 30 is not good enough for test cricket, esp the test cricket coming up in the next 24 months.

  • SirViv1973 on May 12, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    I don't really see the logic in playing Bopara in the series against WI. RB has filled his boots against WI in the past and may well do so again given the opportunity but the problem is he has struggled against all the other attacks he batted against in tests. I would like to see Taylor or possibly Bairstow given a chance against WI as both look better long term prospects. As for those mentioning Samit there is no chance of him playing in any of the tests this summer. Although he did a decent job as a 5th bowler in SRL he didn't score any runs. Eng won't be worried about the 5th bowler playing at home so they will just pick the guy they think will score the most runs,

  • 5wombats 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.