England have made one change to their squad from that which lost the first Test against South Africa at The Oval so comprehensively. Ravi Bopara has been ruled out for what the ECB describe as “personal reasons” with former Leicestershire and current Nottinghamshire batsman James Taylor called into the 13-man squad for Headingley.
Taylor comes into the squad off the back of a century yesterday for Nottinghamshire in their match against Sussex, although, until that point, he had struggled in the County Championship this season, averaging 27.33 from nine matches. However he has fared much better in limited-overs cricket, passing fifty three times in seven matches, including a brilliant innings of 115 not out off 77 balls in a televised game against Hampshire on 31st May.
Indeed, the 22 year-old has earnt a reputation for performing on the big stage and, while captaining the England Lions against the West Indians earlier this summer, hit 118 off 179 balls. Overall his average in all forms of cricket in 2012 is 46.32 from 27 matches.
The other man who would have been seriously considered for Bopara’s number six spot is Somerset batsman Nick Compton. He is considerably older than Taylor at 29, but has enjoyed an upturn in form over recent seasons, which has culminated in him topping the national batting averages this season. He infamously passed 1000 runs for the year on 1st June – just missing out on the traditionally celebrated milestone of doing so before the end of May – and averages 95.69 from his 11 first-class games in 2012.
The other issue facing the selectors was the abject form of their bowling attack during the first Test. James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan all looked down on pace when compared to recent matches but, as expected, have retained their places in the 13-man squad. Steven Finn and Graham Onions are again included and it is increasingly likely that at least one of them will play at Headingley. Both men are in form, having taken wickets regularly this season, including in the ongoing round of LV= County Championship matches, and have been part of England’s Test squads for some time now.
National selector, Geoff Miller, said of the squad selected: "We were outplayed during the first Test last week but it is important that this squad regroups and focuses on preparing for the second Test. This is a talented squad with plenty of international experience and they will be determined to improve on the performance during the first Test.
"We have made one change to the squad with James Taylor replacing Ravi Bopara who is unavailable for selection due to personal reasons. James has been part of the England Performance Programme for a number of years and has performed consistently for England Lions and now has an opportunity to step up and experience the Test environment.
"We have played a lot of good cricket over the last few years and it's important we remember that, learn from the mistakes that we made and retain the belief that we can level this series at Headingley."
England Test squad: Andrew Strauss (captain), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Steven Finn, Graham Onions, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior (wicket-keeper), Graeme Swann, James Taylor, Jonathan Trott.
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