Trott and Bell take stride towards Oval

Notts 388 Warwicks 219 & 298-3
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The way the day went here represented good news or bad, depending on your point of view. Good for England supporters, anxious for any evidence of form ahead of the final Ashes Test, not so good for the several batsmen who had taken Geoff Miller's talk of a one-off selection for The Oval to mean they might be in with a chance.

Expectations had been raised significantly on Wednesday. Ian Bell, after a double failure at Headingley, had done himself no favours at all by being out for one and Jonathan Trott, the leading contender for a debut call-up, did not much better. As the Mark Ramprakash lobby gathered momentum, the Rob Key camp took some encouragement, too.

They will be a little less chipper this morning. Warwickshire were asked to follow on here after a fourth wicket for paceman Charlie Shreck completed their dismissal for 219 but ended the day in better shape after Bell and Trott shared a partnership of 188 for the third wicket, helping the visitors establish a lead of 129.

Bell, after looking in decent order for his first three hours at the crease, became bogged down as Nottinghamshire adopted more conservative tactics and still has work to do to reach a century. Trott, on the other hand, showed no such frailties.

He does not have Bell's touch, nor range of strokes, but he drives powerfully and has mental strength, too. Racing to 50 off only 39 deliveries, he reached his fourth hundred of the season by pulling Samit Patel for his 17th boundary, passing 1,000 runs for the season along the way.

Out for 121, his dismissal gave Ryan Sidebottom a rare moment of satisfaction. Trott hit him to the boundary three times in one over as the left-armer struggled to find a consistent line but a little late swing with the second new ball gave him the last word.

Trott might hope Ashley Giles, his county coach, has the last word when he meets his fellow selectors today to ponder who to pick for The Oval. "Jonathan has been playing like that for a couple of seasons and what impresses me about him now is that he is doing it back to back," Giles said. "There is a lot of tension for all the guys playing in this round, as I've seen first-hand with the two in our dressing room. So for him and Ian Bell to play in the way they did is impressive."