After Andrew Strauss's frustration at Lord's last week, Ian Bell's bid to find form in the County Championship ran into trouble against Sussex yesterday. Bell made a seven-ball duck, in complete contrast to his Warwickshire and England team-mate Jonathan Trott.
Trott, who had not batted since the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo three weeks ago, marked his first championship appearance since May 2011 with a century as fluent as any of his previous 28 for county and country.
Looking particularly assured against his England team-mate Monty Panesar, Trott completed his first half-century from just 56 deliveries with 10 fours. His second 50 was something of a contrast, taking 107 balls, but he moved into three figures with a stylish off drive against James Anyon for his 17th boundary. Trott and Varun Chopra, who scored his fourth century since arriving from Essex, put on 219 for the third wicket before Chopra was lbw to Luke Wells.
Given that Warwickshire, put in, had been 13 for 2 with the departure of Bell, who has only one half-century in his last 19 first-class innings, the Bears enjoyed a reasonable day. Bell, who was dismissed for 18 and 16 by Lancashire at Liverpool last week, was bowled by Anyon, his misfortune in running into a good ball early in his innings mirroring Strauss's fate at Lord's.
Nottinghamshire recorded a first batting bonus point in their fourth match, against Worcestershire at New Road, but will be disappointed not to have done better after a succession of batsmen failed to capitalise on starts. The frustration can not have been felt more keenly than by the three hoping to impress the watching England selectors ahead of the Lions match against the West Indies next month.
Alex Hales looked in good order after Nottinghamshire were inserted but, having reached 49 with seven boundaries, the opener drove expansively at a ball from Richard Jones to be caught at second slip. Samit Patel, who made 26, was similarly wasteful, carving Alan Richardson to wide gully having batted with due care for an hour and 48 minutes, and James Taylor, having worked for almost two hours, went for 38, chasing a widish delivery from Aneesh Kapil to be caught behind.
Lancashire, beaten in their opening two matches, enjoyed a good day at Taunton, revisiting the scene of their title-clinching victory over Somerset last September. Ashwell Prince failed to complete the first century of his latest spell with the county when he became a maiden first-class victim on debut for the 18-year-old all-rounder Craig Overton, but Steven Cross finished unbeaten on 113 as the champions closed on 363 for four.