James Taylor scored an unbeaten 64 as he played for Sussex against the Australians at Hove after the completion of Steve Smith's century had triggered the Australian declaration at 366 for five after just three overs on Saturday.
Taylor's runs will greatly please the England selectors, who have included him in the squad for the third Test.
After Luke Wells' and Mike Yardy's early dismissals, Taylor found himself at the crease early and played a watchful innings as he accumulated runs, reaching the close (after a couple of rain delays) on 64* from 146 balls. At the other end, Rory Hamilton-Brown slayed the Australian bowling to all parts, reaching 73 in as many minutes. Sussex closed on 228-5.
Taylor will hope Saturday's poor weather blows over on Sunday so that he can knuckle down and get a big score ahead of a possible Third Test outing at Old Trafford. it also provides him with an excellent opportunity to take a look at some of his potential opponents on Thursday.
Taylor made his Test debut at Headingley against South Africa last year and made 34 in a partnership of 149 with Kevin Pietersen, the man he is likely to replace at Old Trafford.
Jackson Bird impressed for the Australians, picking up the wickets of Chris Nash and Wells, while Mitchell Starc also bowled tightly as the two men face a straight shoot-out for the injured James Pattinson's spot. Ashton Agar struggled once again, going at six an over, while Ashton Turner, on his first class debut didn't bowl. Nathan Lyon, pressing for a recall at Agar's expense, was slightly disappointing on his return to the side, failing to pick up a wicket.
Earlier, Smith secured his place in the side for Old Trafford by adding 4 to his overnight to reach 102* as Australia declared. Who will join Smith in Australia's batting line-up remains unclear after Phil Hughes made a scratchy 81 yesterday, failing to dispel the questions regarding his place in the side. David Warner remains likely to return after scoring 193 for Australia A this week and Hughes is the probable casualty. Matthew Wade's duck yesterday makes his return extremely improbable.
England take a 2-0 lead into the Third test for the first time since 1986-87 and are sensing the opportunity of a series whitewash. Taylor will be looking to make a big impression on the Third and final day of his Test match audition at Hove on Sunday.
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