James Taylor made 70 off 135 balls © Getty Images
James Taylor made 70 off 137 balls © Getty Images

The first Test between South Africa and England was waited with much fanfare as both of the teams are coming of series defeats against India and Pakistan respectively. England after being put into bat first, got off to a horrendous start losing captain Alastair Cook for duck in the third over after a brilliant display of fast bowling by Dale Steyn. With England loitering at 49 for 3, it was up to James Taylor and the remaining batsmen to rescue England out of trouble on Day One. Vishal Mehra takes a look at why this could every well be Taylor’s defining innings.  Live Cricket Scorecard: South Africa vs England, 1st Test at Durban Day 2

James William Arthur Taylor, who came in for England as a knight in shining armor, proving his place in the side ahead of the experienced Ian Bell. Taylor came into bat at a time when another wicket could have made things from bad to worse on Day One against South Africa. Taylor who has just three Tests to his name played out of his skin to weather the storm, with Steyn, Morne Morkel and Co. firing in thunderbolts towards the batsmen. Taylor played with much grit and courage to dig in deep and play off the hardest time of the day.

As the day passed, Taylor got into his own and started showing off his batting skills, stroking as many as nine fours to and one six out of the ground. Along with Nick Compton, Taylor put a 125 for the fourth wicket, with Taylor being the chief contributor. Taylor batted with aggression and looked the more comfortable in his innings of 70 in 137 balls. Taylor sadly got out just before bad light had stopped play as South Africa’s leading pace man Steyn struck once again in the 63rd over. Live Cricket Scorecard: South Africa vs England, 1st Test at Durban Day 2

Taylor before the series looked in fine touch, hitting a century in the tour match against South Africa Invitation XI His innings of 114 contained 14 fours and one six. In the third Test against Pakistan, Taylor made his highest score of 76. Taylor is mostly know for his exploits in One-Day Internationals (ODI) as a hard-hitting middle- order batsman. Having made seven fifties and one hundred in the 50-over format, Taylor will want to carry on his successful exploits in the longer format of the game as well.

Taylor, who made his Test debut in 2012 at Leeds against South Africa, will want to cement his place in the England Test side as well. With his ability to bat quickly and the knack of digging England out of trouble, Taylor could very well be the next big “small thing” in Test cricket.

(Vishal Mehra is a reporter at CricketCountry, who enjoys his weekly dose of anime, and plays cricket once a white moon. His twitter handle is @vishal_oxyjinn.)