England's batting collapse worries Taylor ahead of Test showdown with South Africa

Ross McLean
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South Africa Invitation XI v England - Tour Match: Day Three
Jonny Bairstow fell for a golden duck during England's second innings (Source: Getty)

England's James Taylor has warned his side’s batsmen that they must rid themselves of a propensity to collapse if they are to enjoy success in their four-Test showdown with world No1s South Africa, which starts in Durban on Boxing Day.

The tourists slipped from 99-3 to 190 all out during the second innings on the final day of their warm-up clash against a South African Invitational XI today, before heavy storms forced the match’s abandonment with their opponents 5-0.

England were guilty of batting collapses during their Test series defeat against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates this autumn, while it is an issue which has emerged on more than one occasion in recent years.

“It’s definitely a habit we need to get out of. You don’t want to get into those habits of losing clumps of wickets and in the past that has happened,” said Nottinghamshire’s Taylor, who scored 114 in the first innings in Potchefstroom.

“Whatever the opposition you’re playing you don’t want those collapses and for whatever reason it happened. We’ve got to focus as a batting unit for that not to happen on this trip.”

England’s plight could have been worse had it not been for a brisk 27 from all-rounder Ben Stokes, batting at No10, while vice-captain Joe Root and the recalled Gary Ballance were the other main contributors with 39 and 25 respectively.

The tourists lost five wickets for the addition of just 13 runs as Jonny Bairstow departed first ball, while Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad fell cheaply to join Root and Ballance back in the pavilion.

England, who face South Africa A on Sunday, were 148-8 before Moeen Ali and Stokes steadied the ship, while seamers James Anderson and Mark Footitt were only able to bowl a wicketless over apiece before the onset of rain.