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Trott gives Bell ringing endorsement

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Jonathan Trott has backed England team-mate Ian Bell to bounce back from his run of poor form.

Trott shared a 197-run stand with fellow centurion Andrew Strauss on day two of England’s final pre-Test warm-up against a Sri Lanka Development XI, but concerns over Bell’s form remain.

He has plenty of credit in the bank after scoring five Test centuries in 2011 - including a Test-best 235 against India - but has struggled since the turn of the year.

Bell had a top score of 29 in six innings against Pakistan, was dropped from the one-day international squad and followed a duck against a Board XI last week with 14 today.

That his soft dismissal came in a match dominated by batsmen - Trott and Strauss both retiring out after Chamara Silva's first-innings 163 - increased the focus on him.

However, Trott has no fears over his Warwickshire colleague.

“In the 12 months before the UAE tour (against Pakistan), Ian was probably our leading run-scorer with Alastair Cook,” said Trott.

Ian Bell

Jonathan Trott has backed his England team-mate Ian Bell, right, to rediscover his best form in the two-Test series against Sri Lanka

“He's obviously had a few bad Tests, which is disappointing, but he will want to put that right.

“I've played a lot of cricket with him for Warwickshire and England so I know his game pretty well. He looks in good touch and he'll be okay.”

Bell will be hoping some bold captaincy from Strauss offers him the chance to bat again tomorrow.

Strauss declared with his side still 159 short of their opponents’ mark of 431 for six, hoping to set up a run-chase on the last day.

If that does occur, England are likely to allow Bell and Kevin Pietersen, who was out for 26, first chance to get some time in the middle.

“I'm sure they might get some time in the second innings,” said Trott.

“Both those guys have played a lot of Tests for England and they'll be working very hard for England if they get the chance tomorrow, as well as in the nets before the Test match.

“Both of them have been looking in good form but they just haven’t been able to get runs on this trip.

“But they’ve only had two innings and hopefully they’ll get another chance tomorrow.”

England were offered an insight into some of the peculiarities of playing in Sri Lanka during the afternoon session when a lizard made its way on to the outfield, causing a brief delay as fielders moved it on.

A snake was also spotted beyond the boundary earlier in the day.

“Sri Lanka is a nice place to come and there’s a lot of raw natural beauty here,” said Trott, who was in the 90s when the lizard arrived.

“It’s always nice to see little things like that but I wasn’t getting too close to him, let’s put it that way.”

The Development XI will resume in the morning on 44 for one, a lead of 203.

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