Horsham, July 19 - 21, 2015, LV= County Championship Division One
(f/o) 213 & 254

Notts won by an innings and 103 runs


Taylor 291 revives England hopes

James Taylor compiled his highest first-class score of 291 to reaffirm his England credentials and give Nottinghamshire control at Horsham

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
Sussex 157 for 4 (Gurney 3-54) trail Nottinghamshire 570 for 7 dec (Taylor 291, Read 121, Robinson 4-112) by 413 runs
There cannot be a bad day on which to score a huge double-hundred and rewrite a few records. But when the country you are desperate to represent once again has been hammered in an Ashes Test just 24 hours earlier, your timing looks absolutely spot-on.
James Taylor is unlikely to be first cab off England's rank - Jonny Bairstow surely deserves his place at the head of the batting queue - but a chanceless innings of 291 suggests quite strongly that the Nottinghamshire player's engine is running sweetly again after a spluttering early summer.
Three years have passed since Taylor made his only two Test appearances, against South Africa, but at 25 he remains a genuine candidate for further opportunities - and they could come sooner, rather than later, if this eight-hour, 385-ball knock proves to be the start of something big in the 2015 Championship programme.
Splendidly though the little right-hander played while compiling the highest Championship score by a Nottinghamshire batsman for 76 years, and the fourth highest of all time, a couple of points need noting: this Sussex attack - the admirable Steve Magoffin apart - is neither experienced enough nor sufficiently threatening to maintain pressure on a so-far sound pitch while the parched outfield at Cricket Field Road turns even firm pushes into boundary strokes.
But, that said, Notts were in a spot of bother at 186 for 5 on Sunday when Taylor and Chris Read joined forces. And, come Monday evening, Harry Gurney - another England possibility should the Ashes continue to go badly from a home perspective - extracted enough bounce from the surface during an impressive, back-bending spell to discomfort Sussex's batsmen.
Back to Taylor, though. Walking out to take guard on the first day, his Championship season had a distinctly underwhelming look about it: a top score of 61 from 16 innings and an average of 29.
By the time he left the crease for the final time in this innings, having carved Magoffin to backward point while trying to race to 300, his previous first-class best, of 242, had been put in the shade - as had both the ground record score (262 not out by Ian Bell in 2004) and the biggest individual contribution by a Notts player (268 not out by JA Dixon in 1897) at any venue against Sussex.
Much more important to Taylor than any of those statistics, one suspects, is the manner in which he played: careful when required and then supremely confident once in the groove. How much the recent arrival at Trent Bridge of former England coach Peter Moores has had to do with Taylor's revival is hard for the outsider to gauge but the batsman himself was full of praise for the consultant's assistance.
Resuming on 163, Taylor underlined his determination to cash in by defending resolutely for half an hour while adding just a single and getting his eye in. Thereafter, though, Sussex had next to no answer to either Taylor or Read as a stand of 174 rose, in leaps and bounds, to 365 before the latter thin-edged a catch behind. Oh, and just to keep the statisticians busy, a Notts partnership record against Sussex that had stood for 128 years disappeared along the way.
Read's third Championship hundred of the season was inevitably overshadowed by Taylor's near triple. But between them the pair had put Notts in a position to dominate - and three wickets for Gurney in a final session that lost eight overs to bad light and drizzle did nothing to help Sussex sleep easy.

David Lloyd is a former chief cricket correspondent of PA and the Evening Standard

Sussex Innings
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LV= County Championship Division One