In-form Taylor warns against further collapses

STAR TURN: England's batsman James Taylor, left.
STAR TURN: England's batsman James Taylor, left.
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James Taylor has warned there is no leeway for another batting collapse in England’s final Test warm-up against South Africa A.

England drew their first three-day tour match against an Invitational XI after a thunderstorm put paid to the last two sessions and denied their seamers a second innings workout. The tourists dominated the first two days, piling on 470 then dismissing the hosts for 188, but their final act was to lose seven wickets for 91 runs before lunch on day three.

With a mix-and-match batting order and an emphasis on sharing time in the middle, there will hardly be cause for an inquiry but Taylor, who made 114 in the first innings, knows there must be no repeat against a strong opposition in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.

“It’s definitely a habit we need to get out of, you don’t want to get into those habits of losing clumps of wickets and in the past that has happened,” said the Nottinghamshire man.

“We’re disappointed with how many wickets we lost in that first session but it happens, especially early in a tour, and it’s a good thing for us to learn from –as long as we are learning from it.

“The intensity is going to get ramped up in the next game against South Africa A, which is going to be a good challenge.

“But whatever opposition you’re playing you don’t want those collapses and for whatever reason it happened we’ve got to focus as a batting unit for that not to happen on this trip.”

England are content that the excellent facilities at their Senwes Park base have helped get them up to speed in their first week on tour, but a premature end to the tour opener was not part of the plan.

Head coach Trevor Bayliss would have liked another couple of hours in the field, putting overs into the legs of senior men James Anderson and Stuart Broad and assessing the claims of Test hopefuls Chris Woakes and Mark Footitt.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t get a few more overs into the bowlers but that’s the way it is when you come to places like the Highveld and the weather kicks in,” said Taylor. “We’ve come straight off the back of the UAE and the boys have hit plenty of balls out there. It’s just about getting used to the surfaces we’re playing on.

“The tour is off and running and now we’re looking forward to a tough challenge against South Africa A.”