Taylor fits the bill for England as Bopara is hit by injury scare

West Indies 147 & 27-3 England Lions 341

Northampton

England Lions are, so to speak, a source of great pride to the selectors. When they, or indeed the team management, talk of the Lions they puff out their chests and wink knowingly.

Or it always seems like that. The Lions have been a key link in the chain of progress to Test mastery, a crucial way to show the cut of a potential international player's jib. If you do not have what it takes in the Lions you can forget going further.

Which is to say that if you do well, you can be assumed to have the right stuff and eventually expect that good-news call from the chairman of selectors. James Taylor can hardly do more and yesterday, if the system is to be worth the planning that goes into it, he should have played his way to the very verge of the Test team.

He scored 118 for the Lions side he is leading against the West Indies. It was an innings of diligence and care, begun amid a clatter of three wickets for just five runs. The rebuilding work he performed was necessary and accomplished in every way, taking the Lions to a first-innings lead of 194.

The squad for the First Test, which starts at Lord's on Thursday, has already been selected, though the announcement, in accordance with renewed tradition, will not be made until tomorrow morning. This indicates that the last batting place has gone to Ravi Bopara, who was unfortunate to miss out in the winter.

But in the afternoon there came news that Bopara was off the field at Chelmsford with a leg injury suffered while playing for Essex against Kent. He went for a scan and the results are expected today. Early medical reports suggest that Bopara will be fit but early medical reports concerning England cricketers have been wrong before.

England may therefore need another untried batsman for the Test. Not before time since there is a growing feeling that this order, found so wanting on the winter tours, needs an infusion, almost a transfusion, of new blood.

Now that selection is no longer done on the back of a fag packet it is difficult to be sure what these matches count for. Eoin Morgan's timely hundred in the corresponding match last year earned him Test selection but if it is an audition there is no immediate promise of a starring role.

Taylor stated a solid, if not unanswerable, case yesterday. Last summer for the Lions he made 76, 17, 76 and 98 in their first-class matches. If the process of ensuring players are ready for the big time is to mean anything that has to be considered.

The feeling is, however, that Jonny Bairstow of Yorkshire is the next man in line. Bairstow has already scored two hundreds for Yorkshire in Division Two of the Championship and he helped Taylor yesterday with the repair work.

They put on 107 for the sixth wicket after the innings faltered. Nick Compton was the first wicket of the day to fall but the real trouble came an hour later. Michael Carberry, having left and played what he should, edged to slip, Ian Bell was beaten playing forward and bowled through the gate, Samit Patel chipped tamely back to the bowler.

Bell might be entitled to suggest that his concentration had been disturbed when a man walked in front of the sightscreen, forcing the batsman to pull away. The miscreant was Andy Flower, the England coach, who was suitably embarrassed and immediately sat down.

Nominally, Patel is the man in possession of the last batting spot having played two Tests for England in Sri Lanka, but though the team had already been selected this was not the way to provoke the selectors into changing their minds.

On narrow balance, Bairstow looked the more assured of the two at first. But Taylor and Bairstow both left with aplomb which is always a pleasure to see. Taylor has a stylistic quirk of going across his stumps to lever the ball to leg, effective, planned but dangerous in high-level company. He faced 179 balls and hit 13 fours, requiring the help of the lower order to secure his hundred as West Indies failed to finish the job.

The last wicket put on 64. Taylor may or may not have a sleepless couple of nights. England are picking a squad of 13. The cover is likely to be for bowlers not batsmen.

Probable squad

AJ Strauss (capt), AN Cook, IJL Trott, KP Pietersen, IR Bell, RS Bopara, MJ Prior, TT Bresnan, SCJ Broad, GP Swann, JM Anderson, ST Finn, G Onio

Scoreboard

NORTHAMPTON (Second day of four): West Indies are trailing England Lions by 166 runs with seven second-innings wickets in hand

England Lions won toss

WEST INDIES — First Innings 147 (Bravo 51)

ENGLAND LIONS — First Innings 40-1

First Innings Contd

Runs 6s 4s Bls Min

M Carberry c Chanderpaul b Rampaul 32 1 4 93 148

N R D Compton b Roach 21 0 3 46 70

I R Bell b Rampaul 29 1 3 54 69

J W A Taylor c Ramdin b F H Edwards 118 0 13 179 268

*S R Patel c & b Shillingford 4 0 1 7 8

†J Bairstow c Rampaul b Shillingford 50 0 6 93 126

M T Coles b Roach 0 0 0 6 7

S C Meaker b Rampaul 12 0 1 25 30

J A Brooks c Ramdin b Roach 18 0 3 28 33

J W Dernbach not out 28 1 2 21 52

Extras (b4 lb3 w2 nb17) 26

Total (90 overs) 341

Fall: 1-6, 2-55, 3-92, 4-93, 5-98, 6-205, 7-211, 8-244, 9-277.

Bowling: F H Edwards 21-5-79-2, R Rampaul 24-5-79-3, K A J Roach 21-2-90-3, S Shillingford 23-5-75-2, M N Samuels 1-0-11-0.

WEST INDIES — Second Innings

Runs 6s 4s Bls Min

A Barath lbw b Brooks 14 0 2 30 34

K O A Powell not out 8 0 0 44 62

*K A Edwards lbw b Brooks 4 0 0 9 12

F H Edwards b Coles 0 0 0 2 5

D M Bravo not out 0 0 0 5 8

Extras (lb2) 2

Total(for 3, 15 overs) 28

Fall: 1-21, 2-25, 3-26.

To bat: S Chanderpaul, M N Samuels, †D Ramdin, K A J Roach, S Shillingford, R Rampaul.

Bowling: S C Meaker 3-1-11-0, J A Brooks 7-2-12-2, M T Coles 5-2-3-1.

Umpires: N L Bainton and S A Garratt.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor