In Trott we trust
Posted in England v Pakistan 2010
Heading into the final npower Test of the summer, against Pakistan at Lord’s, Jonathan Trott had pretty much secured his position as England’s number three.
Having entered the season with his place in the team being questioned in some quarters, the Warwickshire man had delivered a great riposte.
With another trip to the home of cricket – the venue where he struck a double hundred against Bangladesh in May – looming, he had scored 485 runs at an average of 69.28 this summer.
But, given that he occupies arguably the most important position in the team – the one that has caused England’s selectors many problems since Michael Vaughan’s retirement in 2008 – some people still needed convincing.
Little did they know that he was about to win their unconditional support in the best possible fashion.
For he was ready to produce an innings that was so good it eclipsed all previous efforts, including his 119 in last year’s Ashes-deciding Test at the Brit Insurance Oval, in terms of quality.
After heavy rain ensured little play was possible on the opening day at Lord's, England entered day two on 39 for one, with Trott unbeaten on eight.
Let’s just say that nobody could have predicted what happened next as the following day and a half produced a theatrical drama fit for the Globe Theatre.
Like any good drama, it contained three very different acts.
The first saw Mohammad Aamer rip the soul out of England’s top and middle order, claiming four wickets in eight balls to leave the hosts 47 for five.
Act two was the shortest, with Trott and Matt Prior battling through to lunch before Aamer mustered another double strike - 102 for seven.
It was time for act three.
It was time for 426 minutes of brilliance as Trott, having battled through some of the most testing circumstances imaginable, and Stuart Broad, capitalising on the easing conditions, took total control.
By the time the latter was dismissed, lbw to Saeed Ajmal, he had scored his maiden first-class century – his 169 bettered his father Chris’ best effort in the longest form – and contributed to the highest eighth-wicket partnership in Tests, worth 332.
But if the left-hander’s knock was impressive, it paled in comparison to Trott’s.
Facing up to the brilliant Aamer, the wily Mohammad Asif and the tricky Ajmal, in bowler-friendly conditions, Trott proved a man mountain – adopting a 'thou shalt not pass' attitude while keeping the scoreboard ticking over with risk-free boundaries.
It was testament to the quality of his innings that he did not need to change tempo in order to maintain a healthy strike-rate.
In fact, when conditions eased, he hit fewer boundaries, opting to take easy singles rather than launch a needless, reckless attack.
And, boy, did it work.
He was eventually out for 184, caught behind when, with England nine down, he tried to become the first man to score two Test double hundreds at Lord’s.
Not achieving the feat did not detract from the brilliance of his effort, though.
The selectors now know they need not worry any longer - England have found their number three.