Taylor shines for England

Published: Sunday 7th December 2014 by The News Editor

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James Taylor produced a breakthrough innings of 90 as England nonetheless struggled to post a par total in the fourth one-day international against Sri Lanka at the Premadasa Stadium.

Taylor found himself at the crease in the second over, in only his third ODI and first for 15 months, after stand-in captain Eoin Morgan chose to bat on a dry pitch.

Neither Moeen Ali nor Alex Hales could make a success of their new alliance, opening together for the first time in the absence of Alastair Cook, so Taylor faced a significant challenge.

He responded sensibly and then expansively with six fours and two sixes from 109 balls – before Morgan’s first ODI 50 in 14 attempts, stretching back almost 11 months, mitigated against an anti-climax around him.

England faltered from 170 for three to 265 all out against spin as Rangana Herath, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Ajantha Mendis each took three wickets.

But Morgan (62) held his nerve for a big finish, completing his 42-ball half-century with a slog-sweep for the first of two successive sixes at the start of the last over from Dilshan.

Hales, pushed up to open in place of Cook who is serving a one-match ban for an over-rate offence, had lasted just one legitimate delivery.

After an initial wide, Dhammika Prasad had him edging a drive to slip.

Moeen threatened some impetus alongside Taylor but went on a pre-meditated charge in Dilshan’s first over, never made the pitch of the ball and was stumped when it turned away.

Taylor had settled, and proved it with a trademark whip high over straight mid-wicket for six and then a pulled four in Thisara Perera’s first over.

He and Joe Root often found the field but scurried effectively, and established a good tempo with some big shots in between.

The Yorkshireman then missed one of his favourite slog-sweeps, at the wrong ball perhaps, and was bowled by Herath to end a third-wicket stand of 93.

But Taylor, past his 50 after needing DRS on 35 to prove he had got a bottom edge on a sweep at Jeevan Mendis and overturn an lbw decision, pressed on with Ravi Bopara.

A maiden international hundred was in his sights, although he was increasingly troubled by cramp, when the powerplay was taken.

But trying to go inside-out over the off-side ring rather than to his favoured leg, he chipped a simple catch to cover off Ajantha.

When Bopara was bowled by one that kept very low from Dilshan, Morgan and Jos Buttler were in a tough spot without a run between them.

The upshot was a moderate powerplay, after which Buttler was caught at long on off Herath.

England fell short of expectations, after their mid-innings promise, as Sri Lanka persisted with 36 overs of spin in all – but Morgan did his best to salvage a shot at a series-levelling win.

Published: Sunday 7th December 2014 by The News Editor

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