By Mark Gleeson
DURBAN (Reuters) – A second successive test half-century for James Taylor marked a satisfying start for the diminutive England batsman in the test series against South Africa.
Taylor, 25, scored 70 on the opening day of the first match at Kingsmead on Saturday to dig England out of early trouble in a 125-run partnership with Nick Compton, who will resume on Sunday with England on 179 for four.
“It was satisfying to get a 50 because every time you get to the middle, regardless of the situation or who you are playing, it’s almost trying to prove a point and show people what you can do and grab that opportunity with both hands,” said Taylor, who was caught behind off Dale Steyn just before the close.
“From the team’s position it was important I did that and for myself too. In the first game of the series you want to lay down a marker, it’s important,” he told reporters.
Taylor, who made 76 in the last test against Pakistan in November on his return to the team after a three-year absence, joined Compton with England in trouble at 49 for three shortly after lunch on a rain-affected day.
Compton, picked at number three after two years in the test wilderness, scored a much more circumspect 63 but was not out overnight. “Especially in the conditions and the situation of the game it was massive for myself and being the first innings of the series, the timing was crucial,” Taylor added.
“I was really enjoying batting with Nick. He’s had two years out and he really applied himself. He did exactly what we needed him to do and, hopefully, he can kick on.
“We kept it simple and concentrated on ourselves. It was just enjoyable and good fun but also tough work out there. I was frustrated with myself getting out a couple of overs from the end but these things happen.
“I tried my hardest to immerse myself in the situation rather than thinking about too many personal things. I like to get my head in and play accordingly and that’s exactly what me and Nick did today in tough conditions facing a good South African bowling attack,” Taylor said.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)