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Taylor gets it in the neck from facing giant Irfan

By Staff Reporter

James Taylor has had to put up with a stiff neck after facing just 14 balls from Mohammad Irfan so far - and will be perfectly happy if the same occupational hazard returns at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium today.

The height differential between England's diminutive middle-order batsman and Pakistan's giant left-armer means Taylor could be forgiven for wondering at times if he is about to bang his head on Irfan's kneecaps.

But from 22 yards, 5ft 5in v 7ft 1in has turned into a pretty even match in two one-day internationals to date.

With the series score 1-1, Taylor is able to point to innings of 60 and an unbeaten nine and can perhaps even claim to be inching the upper ground in his battle with Irfan.

A more decisive edge will be handy as England try to sneak one up with one to play.

Taylor will be delighted to do his bit, even if it means he has to put up with a twinge of discomfort again afterwards.

"I had neck ache for half-an-hour afterwards," he said, with a smile, as he recalled his last innings against Irfan.

The bowler's extra height in fact suits Taylor, as a particularly strong back-foot player who feeds off exaggerated bounce otherwise rare on the low pitches of the United Arab Emirates.

"I quite enjoy facing the big guys, because it means the ball should bounce - and that plays to my strengths," Taylor added.

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