x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

James Taylor England's back-up for third Ashes Test with Australia

Nottinghamshire batsman added to 14-man England squad and if needed, he could replace Kevin Pietersen in third Ashes Test match with Australia on Thursday.

James Taylor is coming off a big weekend for Sussex and was added to England's squad. Mike Hewitt / Getty Images
James Taylor is coming off a big weekend for Sussex and was added to England's squad. Mike Hewitt / Getty Images
James Taylor is ready to join the Ashes battle if needed by England this week.

The Nottinghamshire batsman has been brought into the England squad as cover for the injured Kevin Pietersen for the third Test against Australia, starting on Thursday at Old Trafford.

Pietersen remains hopeful of proving his fitness to help England, who lead 2-0, as they bid to wrap up an early series victory, but coach Andy Flower is taking no chances.

Taylor, 23, will join a 14-man squad after a timely century against Australia while guesting for Sussex in the tour match at Hove over the weekend.

Taylor, who has also scored 824 runs at an average of 58.85 in the County Championship this summer, told Sky Sports News: "I have had a little taster against Australia and if required, I'll be up for it.

"They are obviously quality Test bowlers and they have proved themselves. It was a good tester out there on a decent cricket wicket."

Taylor is happy to accept his role as back-up to Pietersen, but is keen for another crack at Test cricket after playing twice without impressing against South Africa last summer.

"I'm delighted to be back in the England squad one step closer to playing but we all hope KP is fit and well for the game," said Taylor, who scored an unbeaten 121 against the tourists at Hove.

"I am in a better space mentally, and probably my game is in a better space, than a year ago. I am another year experienced and I have got a shed load more runs behind me."

Pietersen is continuing to follow a rehabilitation programme after suffering a calf strain in the second Test win at Lord's.

All 11 of the side that played at Lord's are again included, but there are two more additions to the squad in the paceman Chris Tremlett and the spinner Monty Panesar.

The seamers Steven Finn, who was left out of the side after playing the opening match of the series at Trent Bridge, and Graham Onions, were dropped.

Tremlett has not played Test cricket for 18 months due to injury problems but has come into the reckoning for what could be a hard surface in Manchester.

Old Trafford's reputation for spin has also endured despite being off the Test rota for three years due to ground redevelopment.

Panesar, who has taken 25 wickets in three Tests at the ground, will give England the option of playing a second specialist slow bowler.


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