Jonathan Trott scored an unbeaten 175 on the opening day of the first test against Bangladesh as England reached 362-4, exploiting a flat Lord's wicket and an innocuous bowling attack. The South African-born Trott, who played for the land of his birth at schoolboy level, recorded the second century and highest score of his England career.
His first century was on debut against Australia last year. England captain Andrew Strauss, who made a come back to international cricket after a break of six months, scored 83 as he and Trott put on 181 after Bangladesh put England in to bat.
However, there were disappointments for several England batsmen. Opener Alastair Cook fell for just 7 when he was trapped leg before wicket, big-hitting Kevin Pietersen sparkled briefly before falling to a rash shot on 18, and Ian Bell stumbled his way to 17 before misjudging a ball and was bowled.
Trott's near six-hour-long innings was a lesson in patience. His first 50 took 75 balls, his second just 58 but he became becalmed after tea and his third 50 took 110 balls. So far he has faced 270 deliveries. Coming on to bat with the score on 7-1, Trott cover drove imperiously in the first two sessions, joined by Strauss, who hit the only six of the day.
Trott said the pressure for places in the England team played a part in his innings: "You're under pressure whenever you play for England. Everybody wants to be able to pull on that England cap," he said. "There's always pressure from outside. The last couple of weeks I've just accepted that and got on with the job," he added.
Test debutant Eoin Morgan's arrival at the crease breathed some life into the England innings as the Ireland-born, limited-overs specialist introduced variations like a reverse sweep into the batting. Morgan was not out 40 at the close on Thursday, as he and Trott put on 104 for the fifth wicket.
Cook was stranded leg before wicket by Shahadat Hossain as the game began in damp and overcast conditions. That was the only success of the morning for Bangladesh as favorable conditions for bowlers disappeared and the wicket flattened out. Television replays showed the ball that dismissed Cook would have gone over the stumps.
The referral system that is supposed to be used in all tests _ and which would have saved Cook _ is not being used at Lord's because of a dispute between English cricket authorities and the host broadcaster, which is baulking at paying for the extra cameras needed to allow officials to give accurate referral decisions.
Strauss batted cautiously at first but hit a six and a four to square leg in the eighth over off the unthreatening seam bowling of Robiul Islam. Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons was annoyed with his team's pace attack. We can't put two balls in the right spot at the moment," he said. "We've got to be more consistent. We can be very good or very bad and today I thought our fast bowlers in particular were really bad," he added.
Siddons said the decision to put England in may have been wrong and inspired by fear of a lively Lord's wicket. "It was more the fear of us batting on that surface if it did have something in it. If we'd batted and got through that first session we could have made a good total," Siddons claimed.
In the afternoon session, Strauss and Trott cruised at more than four runs an over and Strauss appeared set for his 19th test century until he played one backing away from the innocuous spin of Mahmudullah. Bangladesh had appealed loudly for a catch behind from the previous ball. Umpire Billy Bowden ruled correctly that the ball had struck Strauss' arm but he was dismissed from the next ball for 83. Soon afterwards Trott reached his century with one of his many cover drives, reaching three figures from 133 balls and scoring 12 fours.
Pietersen, who returned to his aggressive best in the World Twenty20 which England won this month, again looked impressive, but was clean bowled by captain Shakib Al Hassan swinging wildly. Bell limped along before he played around a Rubel Hossain delivery that knocked over his off stump, but Trott and Morgan then lifted England into a strong position.