England v Australia, 2nd ODI, Lord's September 4, 2015

Taylor not afraid of looking silly

'When I go big, that's a shot I have played' © Getty Images

As was England's mantra against New Zealand earlier this summer, when they responded to back-to-back defeats to take the five-match ODI series, there will be no backing away from an aggressive mindset after the loss to Australia at the Ageas Bowl regardless of the ramifications.

That much was clear when James Taylor, who made 49 on his return to the side at No. 3, said he was willing to take the chance that he could "look silly" when it goes wrong rather than change the outlook which has been at the core of reshaping England's one-day side since the World Cup.

Taylor was almost hyperactive on Thursday, skipping around his crease, coming down the pitch at the bowlers and generally trying to put the opposition off. Early on, he launched Mitchell Marsh for a straight six and he had helped give England the platform to chase down a target of 306 whey were 152 for 2 in the 27th over.

However, one shuffle and swipe too many ended with him missing a straight delivery from Shane Watson - for which he was given a forceful stare by the bowler, who had been one of Taylor's main targets - and from that moment England lost their way to be bowled out for 246.

"When I bat, and especially against a specific bowler who is bowling into my strengths, I go for it. It was in my arc, but it was just the execution," Taylor said of his downfall.

"It is a shot I have played for a number of years now - and people watching international cricket will have seen that when I go big, that's a shot I have played. It brings me runs."

"When you miss you look silly. But that is the way it is," he added. "When I bat I try and take hindsight out of the equation. If I want to take a bowler down, I will go into it wholeheartedly rather than pussy-foot around.

"You saw that when I hit Mitch Marsh over his head on 2. I'm confident with the shot, and I don't do it half-heartedly."

Marsh, for his part in the contest, not just with Taylor but with the whole of the England batting, sees plenty of gain for Australia from England's method with the bat. Marsh conceded more than eight-an-over, and was only used for four overs, but removed Alex Hales when the opener pulled a long hop to midwicket.

"We know they're going to come hard at me, Watto and Maxi. We said in our team meeting that it gives us an opportunity to take wickets. If they're going to come hard at us then so be it ... the only way to stop their team scoring runs is by taking wickets. Our attack allows us to do that."

It would be easy to forget that England's first ODI after the World Cup debacle was captained by Taylor, when they faced Ireland in Dublin, although the match was abandoned after 18 overs. The day was quickly overtaken by the news emerging of Peter Moores' sacking as coach, and when England next took the field for an ODI, against New Zealand at Edgbaston when they crossed 400 for the first time, Taylor was carrying drinks.

That followed a period around the World Cup where he was shuffled up and down the order. In the triangular series which preceded the tournament he batted at No. 3 and made two half-centuries against India but failed against Australia. That prompted a seemingly panicked 11th-hour change from the selectors as Gary Ballance was recalled at No. 3 and Taylor moved to six.

To his credit, Taylor was one of the few players to emerge from the opening-game mauling by Australia at the MCG with any credit as he made an unbeaten 98 - only denied a maiden hundred when James Anderson was controversially run out when the ball should have been dead. Although Taylor did not pass fifty again in the tournament, he conceded that getting the axe just one game after being captain had tested his resolve.

"When I got whispers of the team, I was bitterly disappointed,'' he said. "But you cannot dwell on that. I got over it quickly. I have been knocked down before and got up stronger, and that's the way I try and look at it.

"I try to look at the positives - if I take one step back by not getting selected, I will take a few forward in the future. It makes you tougher as a player."

And now he wants to keep taking it to the Australians.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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