Cricket: Board may have say as Taylor fails again

Australia 249 Gloucestershire 55-1
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The Independent Online
Trevor Hohns, the Australian chairman of selectors, hinted that the Australian board may become involved in deciding whether Mark Taylor, their captain, is retained for the first Test at Edgbaston next week. Taylor's poor run continued with a duck at Bristol yesterday.

He lasted just four balls before being caught behind for nought off the left-arm seamer Mike Smith, himself an outside bet for an England call- up.

There has been speculation that the two other tour selectors, coach Geoff Marsh and batsman Steve Waugh, might vote against Taylor's inclusion and Hohns said: "The norm is for the touring selection panel to handle that sort of thing. If they want help, we're only to willing to give them support.

"As you can imagine, if it ever came to having to do something like that it would be very difficult for those two fellows to handle because they are there, they're team-mates, and one of them's the coach. But unfortunately they are the important decisions that have to be made by a selection panel."

Hohns' comments came after Marsh - a close friend of Taylor - said over the weekend that any decision on Taylor should be made by the Australian Cricket Board or the entire five-member selection panel.

Taylor's failure overshadowed the day as the Waugh twins confirmed their own good form but the rest of the Australians signalled their continuing lack of it, as the tourists were bowled out in two sessions by Gloucestershire for 249. In the two hours to the close, Gloucestershire then lost Tony Wright leg before to Jason Gillespie.

Although short of genuine pace, Smith moved the ball well away from the left-handed Taylor at the start of proceedings and the uncertain skipper edged one to give the diving Jack Russell the first of his three catches in the opening six overs.

Just six runs apiece, meanwhile, for Matt Elliott and Justin Langer left the Waughs to stitch the innings together. They did so with some purposeful batting, putting on 96 in 29 overs, before Mark Waugh drove the left-arm spinner Richard Davis to Smith at mid-on. His 66 off 101 balls included 14 boundaries.

His brother Steve hit a similar number of boundaries but then played outside the line to Smith to depart eight short of his hundred, off 136 deliveries.

There was a little movement off the pitch, but it was always a typical low, slow Bristol wicket. Bolstered by their early successes, the home bowlers were difficult to get away.

The young pace bowler Jon Lewis, drafted into the Gloucestershire side at the last minute, took 4 for 89. Smith was sparingly used and returned 2 for 26, while the off-spinner Martyn Ball came on late to take the last three wickets. They cost him 56 in 17.4 overs, while Australia's last five wickets fell for just 44.

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