James Taylor and Jonny Bairstow backed for England Test call-up

England Lions batsmen James Taylor and Jonny Bairstow
England Lions batsmen James Taylor and Jonny Bairstow eye Test call-ups
Tour match, Northampton, day three of four:
West Indies 147 & 377-8 v England Lions 341
Match scorecard

England Lions coach David Parsons has a "gut feeling" that James Taylor and Jonny Bairstow can make a successful step up to the Test side this summer.

The young pair may be called up to Andy Flower's squad to face the West Indies in Thursday's first Test at Lord's with Ravi Bopara struggling with injury.

Taylor and Bairstow, both 22, enhanced their claims with impressive displays against the tourists at Northampton.

The visitors ended day three on 377-8 after battling back for a 183-run lead.

Bopara remains a doubt for England's opening home Test of the summer after suffering a quad injury bowling for Essex against County Championship rivals Kent on Friday.

The 27-year-old was pencilled in to bat at number six on Saturday before emerging at number eight with a runner.

Parsons believes Lions captain Taylor, who scored 118 against the West Indies, and Yorkshire wicketkeeper Bairstow, who also compiled a half century, have played their way into Flower's thoughts.

The England coach is set to reveal his squad on Sunday.

"Both Jonny and James have scored quite heavily in Lions games over the last couple of years, as they have in first-class cricket," said Parsons.

"It's a good opportunity for all of those guys to press their cases. You never know, until they're given an opportunity. They both average close on 50 in first-class cricket, and more than 50 for England Lions.

"You get a gut feel from skilled observations you make - and then you keep your fingers crossed.

"You have confidence because of those observations you've made of them over time...that they can be successful."

Taylor and Bairstow spent all day in the field on Saturday as the West Indies gave themselves a boost ahead of the first Test with a batting fightback.

Kieran Powell (108) registered their first hundred of the tour, and only the second of his first-class career, as his side lost just five wickets to turn around a 194-run deficit.

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