Ashes 2013: England Hopeful James Taylor Hits Century Vs Australia (PICTURES)

James Taylor hit a timely century against Australia to celebrate his England call-up ahead of the Ashes Test at Old Trafford this week.

The Nottinghamshire batsman has been brought into the England squad as cover for the injured Kevin Pietersen for the third Test against, starting on Thursday in Manchester.

Taylor, who has also scored 824 runs at an average of 58.85 in the County Championship this summer, hit 121 runs guesting for Sussex against the Aussies at Hove, as he bids to return to the Test-fold after two nervous outings against South Africa last year.

Taylor could replace Pietersen at Old Trafford

The 23-year-old told Sky Sports News: "I have had a little taster against Australia and if required I'll be up for it.

Pietersen remains hopeful of proving his fitness to help England, who lead 2-0, as they bid to wrap up an early series victory, but coach Andy Flower is taking no chances.

Taylor is happy to accept his role as back-up to Pietersen but is keen for another crack at Test cricket after playing twice without impressing against South Africa last summer.

"I'm delighted to be back in the England squad - one step closer to playing - but we all hope KP is fit and well for the game," said Taylor, who scored an unbeaten 121 against the tourists at Hove.