Ashes 2013: James Taylor hits 64 for Sussex to press Test claim
|Tour match, The BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground (day two of three)|
|Australia 366-5 dec v Sussex 228-5|
James Taylor pressed his claim for an Ashes place by scoring an unbeaten 64 in his guest appearance for Sussex on day two of their game with Australia.
The tourists added 11 to their overnight score at Hove, allowing Steve Smith (102 not out) to reach his century, before declaring on 366-5.
Sussex soon slumped to 33-3 before Rory Hamilton-Brown (73) dominated a fourth-wicket stand of 106 with Taylor.
England hopeful Taylor had shepherded Sussex to 228-5 when rain ended play.
With Kevin Pietersen's participation in the third Test in some doubt because of a calf strain, England may choose to name a spare batsman in the squad when it is announced on Sunday morning.
Nottinghamshire right-hander Taylor appears to be the next man in line after England asked for him to play in this three-day game for Sussex, instead of featuring in two Twenty20 matches for Notts.
And he will have done his chances no harm at all. He batted for almost three-and-a-half hours on a day in which play was twice interrupted by the weather, against an Australian attack full of bowlers who are themselves auditioning for a call-up for the third Test, which begins at Old Trafford on Thursday.
Taylor was nearly yorked by his first ball, bowled by left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc who had just removed Michael Yardy for a duck.
Jackson Bird, Starc's main rival to replace the injured James Pattinson in the Test side, struck twice early on but Hamilton-Brown and Taylor dug Sussex out of trouble.
Hamilton-Brown, in his second spell on the south coast after a stint as captain of Surrey, took the attack to Australia - and off-spinner Nathan Lyon in particular - as he reached his half century from 34 balls, in which time Taylor had only collected five singles.
By the time Hamilton-Brown edged spinner Ashton Agar to keeper Matthew Wade, he had plundered 11 fours and two sixes from the second-string Aussie attack.
It was then up to Taylor to take the initiative, which he did in partnership with Matt Machan (16) and Chris Jordan (23 not out) despite a break for rain early in the afternoon, and Sussex were left still 138 runs adrift when a second rain shower curtailed play.
The tourists had batted on for 16 balls when play began, allowing Smith to reach his seventh first-class hundred by cutting Monty Panesar for four.
Western Australia off-spinner Ashton Turner, one of several youngsters playing club cricket in England this summer as part of a development link-up with county side Hampshire and is not part of the Ashes squad but is playing in this match - has not yet been required to bat or bowl.