Surrey v Warwickshire, Specsavers Championship Div 1, Kia Oval, 3rd day April 9, 2017

Trott takes his time to keep Warwickshire's hopes alive

Warwickshire 91 (Footitt 6-14) and 322 for 7 (Trott 141*, Patel 11*) trail Surrey 454 (Stoneman 165, Burns 71, Sangakkara 71, Wright 5-113) by 41 runs

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Research published recently suggested the average person spends about five years of their lives waiting.

While the bulk of that time is accounted for by traffic lights (six months), railway platforms (27 days; that can be just one journey on Southern Rail) and queuing in shops or on the phone, it seems safe to assume that for cricketers, at least, a month or two should be ascribed to Jonathan Trott.

Just after lunch, it looked for all the world as if this match was heading for a three-day finish. Warwickshire had just lost four middle-order wickets in the space of 11 overs and, on a pitch showing increasing sings of uneven bounce, a Surrey victory looked inevitable.

But Trott had other ideas. And defying the pitch, a terrific bowling attack and a certain amount of logic, he batted for more than six hours in ensuring his side dragged the game into the final day. It may, ultimately, make no difference to the result, but it was a masterful demonstration of batting and will have provided his team-mates with an example of what can be achieved with the requisite focus and determination.

It was interesting to compare Trott's innings with that of his long-time team-mate, Ian Bell. Bell certainly played some lovely shots - a couple of his cover drives had the ground purring in pleasure - but this was an oddly frenetic effort. He wafted at his first delivery, well wide of off stump, top-edged a couple of pulls that went perilously close to fielders and was finally dismissed after reaching for one well outside off stump and being brilliantly caught at second slip by a diving Scott Borthwick.

Trott, by contrast, was in no hurry at all. His only scoring stroke in his first 39 balls came from a mis-field but, while others might have become frustrated or impatient, Trott was happy to scrape his mark, fiddle with his pads and wander toward square leg in between deliveries. Once or twice he walked almost as far as the bowler, but he was in the mood to make Surrey wait and, in the end, he's made them wait into the fourth day. It was the 41st first-class century of Trott's career and his second of a season which started with another in the Parks.

There were some pleasing strokes, too. His first boundary - off his 48th delivery - came from a resounding cut off Tom Curran, while there were three fours in an over off Mark Footitt - two sweet drives and a flick off the legs - and some deft placement to third man. But the most pleasing thing from a Warwickshire perspective was simply that he somehow negated the uneven bounce, wasn't drawn into playing away from his body, and was unperturbed on the several occasions the ball took off from a length and brushed past his nose. This was a fine century against a good attack in demanding conditions.

Perhaps, had Rory Burns been able to cling on to a sharp chance offered by Keith Barker when he had 13, Surrey might still have wrapped-up a three-day win. But Burns, at slip, was unable to hold on to the outside edge offered off Gareth Batty and Barker, despite being beaten multiple times by low bounce as he prodded forward, went on to add 124 with Trott in 41 overs.

Footitt deserves some credit for the Bell dismissal. Having bowled exclusively over the wicket until that point in the match, it was his first delivery round the wicket that drew Bell into his unwise stroke. It was not, by any means, Footitt's best day but to show such versatility - he bowled from both ends, too - was encouraging.

But it was Tom Curran's post-lunch spell that caught the eye. Maintaining a perfect, probing length, he had Tim Ambrose trapped by one that may have kept a bit low and Rikki Clarke edging one that bounced and left him. He was given fine support by Jade Dernbach, who had Alex Mellor fiddling outside off, and Sam Hain stuck on the crease, and Sam Curran whose maturity belies his years. It is, in short, a terrific, disciplined attack that provides unrelenting pressure. Any batsman scoring runs against them this season is going to have earned them.

Where does all this leave the match? Still very much in Surrey's control, really. But perhaps there might be one or two who remember the last time Warwickshire were asked to follow on at The Oval and the unlikely result that followed.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jackie on April 10, 2017, 13:06 GMT

    Trott is enjoying a Renaissance. After a period of gloom and doom after leaving the England side and the ill-fated attempt at a come-back, Trott looks in very good spirits and more importantly in very good form. Cricket is highly dependent on the well-being and morale of the player so Trott's return to his old self is great for him and his County. The ageism now so prevalent among English critics and fans is unhelpful. Trott may well go on being a good player for a long time to come. Form comes and goes and sometimes it doesn't desert the very best cricketers but even allows them an Indian summer like Gooch. He and Stewart batted until they were 40. For Trott he must feel he's in a good place with Warks after being on the edge of a cliff. Bell has been playing a lot of T20 cricket which may account for his more frenetic pace. This is the first match of the Championship. He'll have to adapt. But it's encouraging that he has recovered his fine touch - which was obvious in the BBL.

  • Michael on April 9, 2017, 22:17 GMT

    I thought that a certain former England batsman might hold up Surrey's march towards victory today and he duly did. Some things just seem inevitable.

  • ian on April 9, 2017, 19:35 GMT

    Thank you, George, for the reminder of the last time Warwickshire followed on at the Oval! Today's resistance, led by the admirable Jonathan Trott, just underscores how devastatingly brilliant Footitt's bowling was in the first innings. My! Surrey looks very strong - with Stuart Meaker and Zafar Ansari not required for this match. Warwickshire, on the other hand, seem to be very much where they were last year - hugely dependent on their veterans. A side that is aging is never good news... Unless Trott, Bell, Barker and Patel have stellar seasons, they may do well to avoid the drop.

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