James Taylor took one step closer to a berth in the Test squad as his fine century put the England Lions in a position of dominance on day two of their four-day fixture against the West Indies at Wantage Road in Northampton on Friday.
James Taylor took one step closer to a berth in the Test squad as his fine century put the England Lions in a position of dominance on day two of their four-day fixture against the West Indies in Northampton.
Taylor amassed 118 – the 12th ton of his first-class career in a total of 341 all out. The hosts then reduced the Windies to 28 for three to take a healthy 166-run lead into day three at Wantage Road.
While Ravi Bopara is the firm favourite of securing the number six berth come selection for the first Test, which gets underway on 17 May, Taylor and Jonny Bairstow sport outside chances of pipping the established man to the post.
The other contenders – Samit Patel, Nick Compton – only managed 25 runs between them. But Bairstow and Taylor grabbed the opportunity to impress in front of the watchful eye of national coach Andy Flower.
The duo added 107 for the sixth wicket, complementing each other in sound fashion. Batting at a rate of almost four to the over, the right-handers took a wobbly tally of 98 for five to the safety of 205 for six.
While Bairstow fell in tame fashion shortly after reaching 50, Taylor refused to make the same mistake and in the process perhaps convinced Flower of his worth of a spot in the Test squad, if not the playing XI.
The diminutive Lions skipper, for his 179-ball stay at the crease, showed displayed maturity beyond his 22 years in shepherding the lower-order.
The Windies' inability to prevent the tail-enders from flourishing, which afforded the Australians plenty of late runs on their recent tour of the Caribbean, struck again.
Taylor and number 10 Jack Brooks added 33 for the ninth wicket, while number 11 Jade Dernbach was alongside the centurion for 66 more runs.
Taylor was eventually out to Fidel Edwards, who had resigned his back injury to the past with a slew of short balls and heated words to Dernbach at the other end.
In reply, the visiting top order was typically woeful. Adrian Barath's wretched run of form continued, stand-in captain Kirk Edwards managed just four after his first-innings duck and Fidel's promotion up the order as nightwatchman didn't work as seamer Brooks took his match tally to five wickets.
Saturday brings the remaining West Indian batsmen their last chance at valuable time out in the middle before James Anderson, Stuart Broad and company await at Lord's next week.
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