Dazzling Taylor can’t prevent England slide towards series defeat

Ross McLean
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Nottinghamshire batsman James Taylor hit 90 in England’s six-wicket loss
ENGLAND’S stand-in skipper Eoin Morgan extolled the performance of batsman James Taylor despite his side slumping to a six-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka in the fourth one-day international in Colombo yesterday.

Nottinghamshire’s Taylor, who replaced suspended captain Alastair Cook, carried the English fight with a top score of 90 as England were bowled out for 265 on the final ball of their 50-over allocation, as Morgan returned to form with 62.

Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene led the Sri Lanka charge with 86 and 44 respectively, while Angelo Matthews finished unbeaten on 51 as the hosts chased down what for most part looked a comfortable victory with two balls to spare to lead the seven-match series 3-1.

“James was given an opportunity and he took it with both hands,” he said. “He was outstanding. To come in after a really long break and play in the manner he did was brilliant. It was great to see. Batting at three is quite a big thing, setting up an innings, and he did it magnificently well.”

Morgan was left to bemoan a lack of slow-bowling options after England omitted spinner James Tredwell and persisted with all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has now returned figures of 0-85 from eight overs in the series.

“It would’ve been nice to have had another spinner,” he added. “Ben has been in and out of the side and we wanted to give him an opportunity.”

Morgan, meanwhile, has followed in the footsteps of Cook and been fined 20 per cent of his match fee as England continue to be dogged by a slow over-rate. Morgan faces a ban if found guilty of a similar offence in the next 12 months.