England v Australia: Place in Test squad next on agenda for Taylor

James Taylor can walk tall on his return to Headingley tomorrow after his maiden international hundred proved a match-winning contribution for England against Australia.

England's James Taylor celebrates making his century against Australia. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA.

It was in Leeds that the diminutive batsman made his Test debut three years ago, against the might of South Africa’s fearsome pace attack, only to be discarded one match later.

Taylor impressed some in August 2012, but not enough in positions of power, in a stand of 147 which was dominated by Kevin Pietersen at his brilliant best.

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Taylor, it seems, has had to prove himself more than most in pursuit of a regular place in England’s one-day international team or even a second chance in Test cricket.

Both are back on the agenda, however, after his 101 underpinned England’s success in a must-win match at Old Trafford on Tuesday – when the hosts reduced their Royal London Series arrears to 2-1 with two to play.

Taylor has outstanding statistics in domestic cricket but admitted, after five ODI 50s in 20 matches – including an unbeaten 98 against World Cup winners Australia at the start of the global tournament last winter – he had to put a century on his CV.

“I’ve got that hundred I needed under my belt – because 20 games is too long for me to go without scoring a hundred,” said the 25-year-old.

“It’s a brilliant feeling – especially having come so close against Australia in the winter.

“It was typical, in my fashion, an anti-climax when I did eventually get those runs – nearly being run out, with the stumps in bits at the other end and nobody knowing whether I had got a hundred or not. It was typical of me, in my ugly fashion, but I was delighted.”

n Brad Haddin yesterday admitted he lost his hunger for cricket during The Ashes as he became the latest member of Australia’s conquered squad to announce his international retirement.

Haddin said: “I came to the realisation after Lord’s. I’ve had a privileged run, but I lost the hunger on the Ashes Tour. It was an easy decision to retire.”