Trott helps England canter to victory
Jonathan Trott impressed for England as his half-century helped the tourists make a winning start in South Africa with a convincing 185-run victory over the Diamond Eagles in Bloemfontein.
The Warwickshire batsman was one of three players to pass the 50 mark for England, hitting 85 and sharing a 123-run partnership captain Andrew Strauss, who made 72.
A quickfire unbeaten 67 from Eoin Morgan also helped the visitors reach an imposing 294 for seven, with the home side failing to get going as Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Sajid Mahmood, Graeme Swann and Paul Collingwood all took two wickets apiece in dismissing their opponents for 109 in 26.4 overs.
The victory will be an extremely satisfying one for coach Andy Flower with most of his players showing promising signs in what was the first of three warm-up games before the opening Twenty20 international against the Proteas next Friday.
After losing the toss and being asked to bat first, it was Trott and Strauss who helped England recover from the early loss of Joe Denly as the opener was cleaned up by a fine yorker from CJ de Villiers in the fifth over.
Trott entered the fray and set out his marker from the start with two boundaries in the same over.
The pair raised their 50 partnership from 55 balls followed by the skipper’s own half-century from 62 balls, which came with an excellent reverse sweep off slow left-armer Con de Lange that raced down to the backward point boundary.
That stroke also brought up the 100, with the century partnership then raised almost immediately afterwards, from 116 deliveries, as England looked on course for a massive total.
Trott’s 50 spanned 66 deliveries, but the introduction of Ryan Bailey brought an end to Strauss' 85-ball knock as he holed out to Victor Mpitsang on the deep square-leg boundary.
The wicket of Paul Collingwood for eight left England at 154 for three, but Trott and Morgan put on a quick 32 together to re-inject some momentum.
However, the England number three blew his chance to start the tour with a century when he played Bailey on to his stumps.
At that stage England looked like they were losing their way but Morgan was given good lower-order support from Matt Prior, who thrashed 19 off 22 balls, and Luke Wright - who caned 24 from 11 deliveries.
That set the Eagles 295 for victory and they made the worst possible start to their reply with veteran Morne van Wyk out second ball when he edged Broad to Swann at second slip for a duck.
Rilee Rossouw took three fours from the remainder of the over but Broad had his revenge the next time he ran in from the Loch Logan End - the young number three batsman hanging out his bat to be caught by Prior behind the stumps for 17.
Anderson then sent Boeta Dippenaar on his way for 11 - the Eagles captain landing an inside-edge onto his stumps to leave his side at 32 for three.
Anderson grabbed his second wicket in the 10th over when he had Elgar caught behind by Prior for four.
The hosts raised their 50 in the 12th over with a spanking shot from opener Reeza Hendricks through the covers for four, but he was out in the next over, trapped leg before by Sajid Mahmood.
Bailey, De Lange, Du Preez and Thandi Tshabalala all reached double figures but England wasted no time in clinically wrapping up the tail to begin the tour on an emphatic note.