Leicestershire landmark for Taylor
James Taylor became the first teenager in Leicestershire’s history to hit a double hundred as he and Jacques Du Toit batted their side into an impregnable position in their LV= County Championship Division Two match against Surrey at the Brit Oval.
Taylor, 19, has already been marked down as a player to watch and he underlined his rich potential with an unbeaten 207 spanning seven hours - which was easily a career-best and remarkable as much for his composure and powers of concentration as for his range of strokes.
He and Du Toit had put together an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 230 in 42 overs when Leicestershire captain Boeta Dippenaar closed the innings at 593 for five shortly before tea.
Steady rain then ensured that Surrey’s weary side would not have to begin their reply until tomorrow.
Leicestershire began the day on 291 for four, with Taylor already well entrenched on 52.
Surrey’s seamers were unable to make further inroads on an excellent pitch as Taylor and Tom New took their fifth-wicket stand to 105 off 29 overs.
Immediately after completing his sixth fifty of the season, off 75 balls, New was caught behind trying to cut the persevering Tim Linley.
Andre Nel, Surrey’s combative South African pace bowler, did his best to hustle Taylor into error by switching to a round-the-wicket attack.
But the 5ft 5in right-hander continued to play with courage and sound judgement, completing his hundred off 224 balls a quarter-of-an-hour before lunch, when Leicestershire were 409 for five.
Du Toit, drafted in for his first championship game of the season after Jim Allenby's contract talks reached an impasse, was an ideal ally for Taylor.
The pair punished the flagging Surrey attack, compiling the fourth and highest century stand in Leicestershire’s innings.
After lunch they added another 184 in 31 overs, Du Toit hitting three big sixes off slow-left-armer Usman Afzaal and Taylor launching leg-spinner Chris Schofield for two sixes as he found another gear after reaching his 150 off 288 balls.
When the declaration came he had faced 329 balls, hitting 21 fours and two sixes, also eclipsing the best score by a Leicestershire player against Surrey - Ben Smith’s 204 on this ground in 1998.
Fiercely struck straight drives were the feature of Du Toit’s unbeaten 100, off 123 balls, which included 10 fours and three sixes.
Leicestershire’s total was their highest for five years.