London: Nottinghamshire batsman James Taylor has emerged as the leading candidate to replace Kevin Pietersen in the third Test against Australia if the England star fails to recover from injury.
Pietersen suffered a calf strain during the second Test at Lord's and was unable to take the field for Australia's second innings. The South Africa-born batsman is currently undergoing treatment ahead of the Old Trafford Test, which starts next Thursday.
But England's selectors have ear-marked Taylor as the man to step up in case Pietersen doesn't recover and on Wednesday it was announced the 23-year-old will temporarily switch counties and play for Sussex against Australia in a tour match this week.
"We would like to thank Nottinghamshire and Sussex for their support and understanding in allowing Nottinghamshire batsman James Taylor to play for Sussex against Australia in the three-day tour match beginning on Friday," said England coach Andy Flower in a statement.
"This will provide James with a valuable opportunity to play in a longer format of the game while we consider our options ahead of the third Ashes Test next week.
"Kevin Pietersen is continuing his recovery from a calf strain and a decision about his availability for the Test will be made nearer the time."
The three-day game starts at Hove on Friday, with Australia looking to build up some confidence after two demoralising losses in the first and second Tests.
Taylor has made two appearances for England, with the last coming against South Africa at Lord's in August last year.