Australia A overcome Taylor's lone hand
James Taylor’s defiant unbeaten 78 was not enough to prevent Australia A from opening up an unassailable 3-0 lead over England Lions with a 113-run one-day international victory in Hobart.
Lions captain Taylor led by example once again having struck 79 in the previous match, but only two team-mates – Gary Ballance and Toby Roland-Jones - were able to follow him into double figures in a total of 143 all out.
Australia A had earlier posted 256 for six upon being inserted, with half-centuries from Aaron Finch and Callum Ferguson countering Simon Kerrigan’s impressive return of 2-27 from 10 overs.
Taylor’s men now face the challenge of regrouping ahead of the final two games in Sydney, with the five-match rubber already beyond them.
Lancashire spinner Kerrigan was the standout performer with the ball in Australia A’s innings.
He had Peter Handscomb stumped to break an opening partnership of 66 and also bowled Joe Burns for nine before Finch was caught behind off Craig Overton.
At that stage the hosts were wobbling on 95 for three, but Ferguson put on 82 with Ben Rohrer, who made it to 43 before being run out, and a further 61 alongside Tim Paine.
Ferguson was eventually bowled by Roland-Jones for 65 in the penultimate over, while Paine’s breezy 38 came to an end in the final set of six as Stuart Meaker claimed his only wicket.
Varun Chopra and Alex Hales fell cheaply in reply, but the Lions moved into a promising position as Ballance, with 26, supported Taylor in a third-wicket partnership of 67.
When Ballance departed at the end of the 23rd over, his side had more runs on the board than Australia A had managed at the same stage of their innings.
However, Taylor was then forced to look on in disappointment as Alister McDermott claimed wickets in three successive overs to leave the Lions in disarray.
Ben Foakes and Rikki Clarke registered ducks either side of James Vince’s dismissal for four.
Overton and Meaker swiftly followed to the leg-spin of Cameron Boyce and Roland-Jones’ plucky 15 merely delayed the inevitable.
Josh Hazlewood returned to remove Roland-Jones and Kerrigan in the 37th over, leaving Taylor, who struck six fours and a maximum in his 82-ball knock, stranded.