James Taylor missed out on back-to-back centuries but will have impressed England’s national selector Geoff Miller by following his 112 against Derbyshire last week with 97 on Monday as Nottinghamshire built a solid 320 after winning the toss against Durham here.
Miller will be relieved to learn that Stuart Broad’s departure from the field after bowling only three overs last night was not the precursor of an Ashes injury scare. “Got hit in the groin while batting. Nothing major. Will be bowling first thing tomorrow,” Broad (above) tweeted later.
Taylor, the diminutive right-hander, played in the last two Tests against South Africa last summer but did not do enough to win a place on England’s senior tours. He has scored 317 runs from his first six innings this season and will hope to underline his form when England Lions meet New Zealand in a four-day match next week.
Taylor’s 14 boundaries included three in a row off Ben Stokes as the young all-rounder tended to bowl too short for the conditions early on, but his progress for the most part on a slow pitch was more measured, reaching 51 off 126 balls.
A run of boundaries off Chris Rushworth took him into the 90s but, pushing forward, he edged off-spinner Gareth Breese to be caught behind.
Steven Mullaney made Stokes pay forhim down at third slip when he was on six by hitting 80 in a stand of 111 with Taylor, justifying his selection ahead of Riki Wessels. Durham’s poor catching cost them more runs when Australia’s opener Ed Cowan added 36 after being dropped on four, and Broad went on to hit 46 after giving chances on one and seven.
Graeme Swann, making his first appearance after elbow surgery, finished with eight not out but there will be more interest, naturally, in how the off-spinner shapes up when he bowls today.