Trott finds life in South Africa to his liking

England 294-7 Diamond Eagles 109
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The Independent Online

Conjecture that Jonathan Trott might be either overawed or intimidated on returning to play in his homeland always seemed fanciful. True, batting here in a warm-up match on a blissful early summer afternoon before an amiable crowd of students and toddlers was a different proposition from going out at the Wanderers next week when the real business of the tour begins. There, his perceived turncoatery in front of the most truculent fans in the world might be the object of more ardent scrutiny.

But Trott did all that could have been asked, bar adding the 15 more runs that would have given him a century in his first 50-over match for England. He was brisk and businesslike, as indeed were England, who won this gentle curtain-rasier by 185 runs.

Trott's innings was, like his decision to leave South Africa at the age of 22 and nail his colours to England's mast, an innings devoid of sentiment. Batting at three, he made 85 from 104 balls and hit seven fours. There was no high style about it and 60 of his runs came on the leg side, punched, clubbed, driven, never glided or glanced. It was an innings that staked a claim for a place in the side for the one-day series.

Trott, who put on 123 for the second wicket with his captain, Andrew Strauss, was greeted warmly by the spectators. "Yes it's nice," he said. "I have had a good few days here in Bloemfontein, and it's a good place to be and away from the hustle and bustle of cities and focus on the cricket."

Trott sounded as though he was calculating what might await him when he makes the long walk through the cylindrical glass tunnel at the Wanderers, spectators surrounding it. He said he received no comments from the opposition about his background, something else that may change.

England made 294 for 7 which was plenty to see off Diamond Eagles. Strauss, who has been in good touch for months without always going on properly, made a crisp 72, reaching his half century with a reverse swept four. This was evidence that something is changing in England's one-day batting. Eoin Morgan, dropped twice, hit an attractive 67 from 52 balls and put on 44 in 22 balls with Luke Wright.

Diamond Eagles found Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson too much of a handful under the lights. Broad struck in his first and third overs, Anderson in his third and fifth. The others joined in and it was all done by the 27th over.

It was a lovely day at the cricket, which was something of a throwback. At the interval, youngsters were allowed on the outfield to play games, an activity prohibited on almost all English grounds. Trott might have enjoyed it.