On the Trott
MELBOURNE – England’s Jonathan Trott overcame a painful blow to the knee to strike a brave century as he and Matt Prior savaged Australia’s attack yesterday to put the tourists in a strong position to retain the Ashes.
Trott’s unbeaten 141 propelled England to 444-5 at stumps on the second day of the fourth test, a lead of 346 runs, and was completed after he was floored by a Ben Hilfenhaus delivery that deflected off his bat and struck his left knee when on 76.
The Cape Town-born batsman slumped to the ground in pain and lay prone for a number of minutes as he received medical attention.He got to his feet gingerly, however, and eventually brought up his ton with a deft flick through midwicket that raced to the boundary under bright sunshine at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Trott held his helmet and bat aloft in celebration, savouring the applause from the crowd of more than 67 000, before embracing his batting partner Prior.“One I will definitely savour, but they’re all pretty special,” Trott told reporters of his fifth test century.
“But Boxing Day and all the hype around it and the support from the English fans, it would be right up there [with my best]. “[The blow was] probably one of the most painful things I’ve ever felt in my life,” Trott added.
He and Prior’s unbeaten 163-run stand took the wind out of Australia’s sails after the hosts’ pacemen had threatened to stall England’s charge with three wickets in an incident-packed afternoon session.
Prior joined in the celebrations by smacking a pull-shot off part-time legspinner Steve Smith to bring up his half-century before joining with Trott to belt Australia’s bowlers to all corners of the ground in the final overs.
Wicketkeeper Prior was on 75 at stumps as the pair raised England’s hopes of further tightening the noose around Australia’s neck on day three with five wickets in hand. Trott’s century may also bring back grim memories for many of skipper Ricky Ponting’s men, who watched the 29-year-old stroke a brilliant second innings 119 on his test debut at the Oval last year to help England seal the Ashes in the fifth test.
This five-test series is tied at 1-1 but victory for holders England in Melbourne will seal the Ashes with a test to spare and make Andrew Strauss’ team the first to take the urn home in 24 years.
England will fancy themselves to build an insurmountable lead on day three and have more than two days to bowl out Australia, whose top order batsmen have failed throughout the series.
“We all know that the Australian team, like we saw at the last test match, that they have some good players,” Trott said. (Reuters)