Trott century takes England Lions to victory
England Lions 281 for 5 (Trott 118, Tonge 3-55) beat West Indies A 279 for 6 (Edwards 147, Shahzad 2-25) by five wickets
Jonathan Trott's 118 guided England Lions to victory over West Indies A at Northampton. In a contest that continually threatened to become tense it was the class of Trott, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell that edged England Lions home after a sensational hundred by Kirk Edwards carried the tourists to a competitive 279.
Trott was unceremoniously dumped out of both England's limited-overs teams as they looked for the right combination to deliver their new-found 'fearlessness', but today he displayed nous and power of his own to anchor the chase to perfection.
Set 280 for victory, what had looked a challenging total became harder when Steven Davies, opening alongside Cook, fell for 11 to Gavin Tonge. Davies has been in fine form this season for Surrey, especially in limited-overs cricket, but his wicket brought Trott to the crease and together with Cook, the pair laid the foundations for the successful chase.
Cook discovered a proficiency for one-day batting at the back-end of last season, and carried that form into England's away series against Bangladesh earlier this year, where he slog-swept his way to 156 runs in three innings. Today he displayed his usual calm temperament with controlled hitting to reach a fifty at a fraction under a run a ball. Trott was similarly comfortable working the ball around and picking off the boundaries when available as the pair added 123 in just over 22 overs.
Cook was eventually dismissed for 71 by legspinner Imran Khan but the wicket brought no respite for the tourists. Instead Ian Bell, another player on the fringes of the England one-day side, stroked his way serenely to 44. Trott ticked along at the other end and, without ever hurrying, the pair took England Lions to within 61 of the total with 50 balls remaining.
West Indies A could not quite squeeze England Lions enough and Trott passed his century off 116 balls to take the side to the brink of victory. He fell to the first ball of the penultimate over, caught behind off Andre Russell with six still needed, but Darren Stevens and Andrew Gale ensured there were no slip-ups.
It was a good work out for England Lions and it displayed the depth that lies beneath the senior side. Yet they could have been chasing a lot less had Edwards not carried the tourists' batting with an epic 147. Before this innings he'd never past 50 in limited-overs cricket but he was on song today.
West Indies A's innings had got off to a horror start, when captain Devon Smith was caught behind from the first ball of the match off Ajmal Shahzad. Andre Fletcher, the wicketkeeper batsman recently demoted by West Indies after a series of low scores, could not get going either, and was bogged down before being castled by Chris Woakes.
It brought Edwards to the crease and it wasn't long until he saw another wicket fall; Omar Phillips nicking behind to Ravi Bopara, to leave the side wobbling on 46 for 3. At that point England Lions would have fancied their chances of chipping through the West Indies A line-up, but instead Edwards was joined by Assad Fudadin and the pair worked the tourists into a competitive position.
Fudadin made a crucial fifty for West Indies A in similar circumstances against Ireland earlier in the tour and today he was equally patient as he and Edwards batted for the best part of 25 overs to add 137.
Edwards was the senior partner, however, and he clubbed 18 fours and three sixes in all, reaching his century off 103 balls. Thereafter he added 47 from his next 29 balls before Woakes bowled him with nine balls left to go.
Sajid Mahmood wore the brunt of the beating, with his 10 overs costing an eye-watering 79. Having bowled so well through the Friends Provident t20 for Lancashire this year, it was a major disappointment for Mahmood and he seems unable to push any closer than the fringes of the national side.
It was Shahzad, who is pushing Tim Bresnan for a place in the senior England side, who was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with 2 for 25 from his allotted overs. It helped restrict West Indies to a manageable total and Trott ensured England Lions eased to victory.