By Olawale Kuponipe
James Taylor was pleased to see the rewards of catching practice pay off during England series-clinching victory over South Africa in Johannesburg.
Stuart Broad’s outstanding spell, which saw him take 6-17 in the second innings of the third Test, stole the show as the England wrapped up the win inside three days.
But Taylor aided the cause with two superb catches at short-leg including a full-stretched dive to his right to dismiss Dane Vilas from a Steven Finn delivery.
The Nottinghamshire batsman was surprised at how quickly his work with Assistant Coach Paul Farbrace paid off but was delighted to collect those catches at such crucial moments in the match.
“It’s so satisfying when you put in the hard yards and it pays off,” Taylor told ecb.co.uk.
“I’ve been putting in quite a bit of work on it actually, my short-leg technique and stuff and working with Paul Farbrace.
“It doesn’t often pay off that quickly because I’d only been working on it a couple of days before but it’s so satisfying especially in that situation to get those catches was a brilliant feeling but a lot of it is due to the bowlers as well, putting it in the right place and giving me the opportunity to catch it.”
The 26-year-old couldn’t hide his joy as the diminutive batsman was recently recalled back into the England side during the tour of the United Arab Emirates against Pakistan last year.
He said: “I’m probably feeling a little bit better than I should be at the minute but honestly that was one of the best feelings I’ve had on a cricket field and to contribute was nice but to be a part of that team and my first Test series win was unbelievable.
One of the best feelings!! What a win and what a bunch of legends to do it with!! @ The… https://t.co/WbtC5mOHiL
— James Taylor (@jamestaylor20) January 16, 2016
“The feeling was brilliant and it still brings a smile to my face now and I’m just happy to be here and a part of it.”
Nottinghamshire team-mate Broad, who became the first England player in 11 years to top the International Cricket Council’s Test bowling rankings, received much of the plaudits and Taylor, like most who witnessed the paceman’s display, was in awe of the breathtaking spell.
“I certainly didn’t wake up yesterday morning envisioning I was going to bat again let alone be on the pitch when something like that or when somebody performs like that,” he added.
“It was amazing stuff and I think that’s his seventh five-wicket haul in one spell in Test cricket which in it’s self is an amazing achievement but to do it time and time again is unbelievable.
“He does it when England need it which is most important and it shows a lot about his character, he was getting a lot of stick from the crowd and he rises to the occasion every time, he loves it. It was just an outstanding spell of bowling and, like I said, it was exactly when we needed it.”