No fractured hand for Jonathan Trott – but it is still a lucky break for Jonny Bairstow


Early scare stories about the state of Jonathan Trott's right hand proved to be unfounded yesterday. Far from the possible multiple fractures with untold months on the sidelines that seemed to be predicted in some quarters after he was struck by a 90mph stinger from Dale Steyn at Lord's on Sunday, an X-ray yesterday revealed that there was no major fracture.

Trott remains doubtful for the final match in the NatWest Series at Trent Bridge tomorrow and it is unthinkable that England will pick him with Jonny Bairstow fit and raring to go. Far better to ensure that Trott recovers in time for the serious business of the Test series against India for which England depart late next month.

Trott has continued to divide opinion this summer as a one-day batsman. In England's last two matches when they were chasing low scores he could go along at his own pace, which varied between sedate and tedious. It is when England are chasing bigger totals that his method is called into question.

Bairstow is far more innovative but equally he may not be as solid as Trott against the two new balls now used in one-day international cricket and which have changed the whole approach to batting at the start of the innings.

As Ian Bell, England's newish opener who has been an unqualified success since taking over in the role from the still out-of-action Kevin Pietersen, said: "With two new balls you have to be prepared to get through the first few overs. It stops swinging quite quickly. When we are playing on the subcontinent or chasing big scores we are going to have to go harder – and we have the power at the end to get us over the line."

If England win tomorrow to go 3-1 ahead it will be their third consecutive one-day series victory against South Africa, one of the more improbable sequences in world cricket.