Taylor relishing England opportunity

PA Sport
James Taylor replaces Ravi Bopara in England's Test squad to play South Africa

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James Taylor replaces Ravi Bopara in England's Test squad to play South Africa

James Taylor is desperate to seize his opportunity after being called into England's squad for the second Investec Test against South Africa.

The Nottinghamshire batsman was called up for the Headingley clash after Ravi Bopara withdrew for unspecified personal reasons.

That is the only change to the 13-man squad from the humbling innings defeat in last week's first Test, though pace bowlers Steven Finn and Graham Onions remain in the party should England opt to freshen up the much-vaunted attack which managed only two wickets at the Oval.

Bopara struggled in that game, with scores of nought and 22 and two sloppy dismissals, and the diminutive Taylor is desperate for his chance. "I hoped that I would be next in line but I never took anything for granted although I have scored consistent runs in all forms of the game to earn this chance," he said.

"Playing at Headingley would be a very proud moment for me but nothing has happened yet, I'm just one step closer and waiting for the nod and the opportunity to help England to get back into the series.

"Facing South Africa's bowling attack is always going to be a tough challenge but it's something that I would relish because getting an England Test call has been my aim from the word go."

Taylor's selection was announced on Sunday morning while the 22-year-old was waiting to resume on 106 not out in Notts' LV= County Championship clash with Sussex. It was his first Championship century since his move from Leicestershire in December and he celebrated by advancing to 163no before his side declared on 520 for four.

He continued: "Test cricket is the pinnacle but there was a noticeable step up to division one of the Championship and wickets haven't been easy to bat on this season. I've always backed myself to play at the highest level and even though I'm young I've played a lot of cricket and I've got a lot of runs behind me.

"The next goal is to get a place in the 11 and if I get that opportunity I have to take it with both hands. If I get in the team then I have to work hard to get runs and then work harder again to do that consistently."

England squad for second Investec Test against South Africa at Headingley: AJ Strauss (Middlesex, captain), JM Anderson (Lancashire), IR Bell (Warwickshire), TT Bresnan (Yorkshire), SCJ Broad (Nottinghamshire), AN Cook (Essex) ST Finn (Middlesex), G Onions (Durham), KP Pietersen (Surrey), MJ Prior (Sussex, wicketkeeper), GP Swann (Nottinghamshire), JWA Taylor (Nottinghamshire), IJL Trott (Warwickshire).

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