Compton here to stay - Trott
Jonathan Trott believes Nick Compton has shown he has what it takes to be Andrew Strauss’ long-term successor at the top of England’s batting order.
Compton was called up to partner Alastair Cook for last year’s tour of India and performed strongly without kicking on to a big individual score.
That particular hurdle was overcome in the first Test against New Zealand and Compton today made it two centuries in as many innings by contributing exactly 100, while also sharing a stand of 210 with Trott at Wellington’s Basin Reserve.
England reached stumps on day one with 267 for two having been put in, with Trott unbeaten on 121 and eager to sing the praises of his colleague.
“It’s a great start to his career,” said Trott of Compton. “I hope he can go on and open the batting for a while with Alastair. That's what we want. Straussy managed to do that for a long time, and they were both very successful.
“It's crucial to team success, having a solid opening partnership who understand each other's game. I think the top three as well need to get on and work well together.”
Trott and Compton certainly did so on this occasion, with chanceless hundreds as the hard-worked Kiwis went 63 overs without a wicket - having got Cook relatively cheaply.
It took Trott 12 Test innings to reach three figures again after his Ashes-clinching hundred on debut at The Oval in 2009.
Compton has wasted no time adding to his first major breakthrough innings, another characteristically patient performance serving England especially well here.
There was no discernible change to his demeanour at the crease, and Trott is encouraged that Compton's maiden hundred has bred confidence but diluted none of the opener's determination.
“You can never go into a Test match relaxed - you are always quite nervous, especially at the start of your career,” said Trott, after his own ninth hundred at the highest level.
“It could be a last Test match...you never know. You don't want to take things for granted - but I certainly think he will take a lot of confidence out of it, knowing he can score runs at this level. You are never really quite sure until you score your first hundred.
“Maybe he felt more confident, but I don't think it's a case of being relaxed.”
Trott, much like his captain Cook, is renowned for his powers of concentration and aversion to risk - and Compton has worked his way into Test cricket at the age of 29 with similar virtues.
“That is the art in cricket, finding the balance between intensity of wanting it too much or being a bit too relaxed,” added England's number three.
“I think his balance at the moment is really good. He has a good work ethic, so he fits right into this team. That's the way he is, very thoughtful on his game thinking about cricket and batting.
“He is quite intense, but I wouldn't say over-intense. He has to find the right balance between switching on and off, when he's facing the ball and at the non-striker's end. He's done really well.”
Trott, of course, has too - and on a true pitch, there were many observers willing to predict from early in his innings that he was sure to reach three figures.
However, after scoring 45 and 56 in the series-opener, he insists he did not start to think in those terms until he was on 99.
"It's a long way from nought - so in the context of starting an innings, you never want to look too far ahead,” Trott explained.
“It was important that Nick and I got going after we lost Alastair early. I take it a couple of overs at a time.
“It's nice to get some runs after Dunedin, where I should have maybe got a few more.”
Trott acknowledged everything could well have been very different if Brendon McCullum's coin-toss had come down the other way.
The home captain must have very soon regretted his decision to bowl first - because of a tinge of green in the surface, which never translated into any significant sideways movement. Yet Cook was planning to do likewise.
“I think we would have done the same,” said Trott. “Alastair is probably very lucky, very happy, that it didn't land on heads.”