BATSMAN Jonathan Trott accelerated his claims for an international recall by striking a double century for England Lions as their first unofficial Test against South Africa A at Paarl ended in stalemate yesterday.
Trott was at his obstinate best as he amassed an unbeaten 211, batting for almost 11 hours and racking up 17 fours in a 403-ball innings, on the very ground where as a teenager he made his first-class debut 15 years ago.
The fourth double-hundred of the 33-year-old’s career came in the same innings as his first international ton since leaving last year’s Ashes tour with a stress-related illness, following scores of 10 and 9 during the first-Test defeat at the Gabba.
His heroics yesterday were a far cry from an inauspicious start to England second string’s tour of South Africa, where the Warwickshire batsman made just six before being caught behind in a warm-up clash against a Gauteng XI in Soweto.
Earlier this week Trott admitted a Test recall remains his long-term goal, saying: “I want to play for England again. That’s what I’m doing here on the Lions tour, working hard along with everyone else.”
The next opportunity for him to add to his haul of 49 caps is when England head to the Caribbean and face West Indies in April, ahead of summer series against New Zealand and Ashes foes Australia.
Yorkshire’s Gary Ballance averages a shade over 70 since snatching Trott’s customary No3 position in the England batting line-up, and former captain Michael Vaughan believes converting to a Test opener may prove the best route to a recall.
“England will want Trott back in. They will be looking to see if he can fill that role alongside Alastair Cook,” said Vaughan.
“I wouldn’t rule out the selectors looking at Trott to open alongside Cook. The only spot available at the moment is as an opener.”
Trott’s unbeaten 211 helped England Lions to 624-8 declared on the final day, as James Vince and Yorkshire quartet Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett and Jack Brooks hit half-centuries, while the match closed with South Africa A 92-2 in their second innings.
England Lions’ second unofficial Test with South Africa A gets underway in Bloemfontein on Sunday.