Jonathan Trott has played countless important innings for Warwickshire during his 16-year career. As he prepares to play his last game for the Bears, against Kent at Edgbaston next week, he reflects with Brian Halford on five of the best.
May 9, 2003, County Championship: 134 v Sussex at Edgbaston.
When, just before 11am on May 9, 2003, Jonathan Trott walked out with Tony Frost to open the batting on his debut, Warwickshire’s fans wondered: “What have we got here then?”
They had a pretty good idea by lunchtime…Trott was 97 not out. Solid and well-organised in defence and punitive of anything loose, he was just three short of christening his Bears career with a century before lunch – and soon reached his maiden ton against a high-quality attack including Jason Lewry, James Kirtley, Robin Martin-Jenkins and Mushtaq Ahmed.
“I opened with Frosty because Nick Knight was injured,” said Trott. “It was a brilliant to get an opportunity to play in the first team and I had to take it. I was 97 not out at lunch and I remember in the last over before lunch I wasn’t sure whether to go for it or just block it out.
“It was a great to start with a century because your debut is special.”
The new boy advanced to a fluent 134 (178 balls, 17 fours, two sixes) before returning to the pavilion to the warmest applause. ‘Trotty’ had arrived.
August 25, 26, 2005, County Championship: 210 v Sussex at Edgbaston.
“2005 was a weird season for me,” recalls Trott. “It was either a big score or no score – I wasn’t very consistent that season, but the Sussex game at Edgbaston was one of the better days.”
That was putting it mildly as Trott’s maiden double-century laid the platform for a spectacular win. He dominated the Bears’ first innings of 475. Nick Knight made 69 but nobody else passed 40 as Trott advanced to 210 from 339 balls with 22 fours and three sixes.
It was batting of a fluency emulated by no-one else in the match. After Sussex replied with 408, based round Murray Goodwin’s five-hour 150, the Bears were bowled out for 180 second time round and then rattled the visitors out for 126 (Jimmy Anyon four for 33) to win by 101 runs.
July 21, 22, 2009, County Championship: 184 not out v Hampshire at Southampton.
On a seamer-friendly Southampton track, Warwickshire struggled to 156 for six on the first day but Trott was resolute. A century stand with Ant Botha stabilised the innings and then, after Botha was stumped, Chris Woakes arrived to help deliver one of the great Bears partnerships of the modern era.
A strong Hampshire attack was entirely subdued as Woakes unfurled a stroke-laden maiden century (131 not out, 183 balls, 16 fours, one six) alongside Trott’s high-class unbeaten 184 (284 balls, 22 fours). The future England pair added an unbroken 222 for the eighth wicket.
“In 2009 I scored big hundreds against Yorkshire and Hampshire and that was my springboard into international cricket,” recalled Trott. “I’ll always remember those because I think that was when I was batting my best. It was a good Hampshire attack that day, with Imran Tahir and Chris Tremlett. Woakesy and I put on a big partnership and Chris showed what a great player he was going to be.”
April 18, 19, 2016, County Championship: 219 not out v Middlesex at Lord’s.
His international career behind him, Trott showed that his skills were undiminished in this masterpiece at the home of cricket. Many long-time Bears-watchers believed that he never batted better.
After Middlesex made 452, Warwickshire were under pressure at 31 for two when Trott went in. Middlesex’s high-class seam attack continued to make inroads and Warwickshire dipped to 173 for six – but Trott held firm. He combined watchful defence, impeccable judgment and superb timing to underpin a recovery in alliance with Keith Barker (81) and Jeetan Patel and Olly Hannon-Dalby (30 apiece).
Warwickshire finished on 468 with Trott unbeaten on 219 from 289 balls with 31 fours – a great innings in a match which included a historical rarity as all 11 members of Warwickshire’s team bowled in Middlesex’s second innings.
“I loved playing at Lord’s,” said Trott. “It was always nice to get runs at there and to get a double century was special. But we didn’t win that game and you tend to remember the ones where you have helped win the game.”
September 17, 2016, Royal London Cup final: 82 not out v Surrey at Lord’s.
Warwickshire’s momentum in 50-over cricket, having built throughout the tournament, carried on into the final as they bowled Surrey out for 136. It was a superb collective effort of fine fielding to support a bowling attack in which everyone kept the pressure on as Chris Wright, Chris Woakes, Jeetan Patel, Ateeq Javid and Olly Hannon-Dalby all took wickets.
But Surrey’s dangerous bowling attack, led by Jade Dernbach and Tom and Sam Curran, were sure to try to hit back hard. Early wickets would mean ‘game on.’
Trott didn’t put a foot wrong. He and Sam Hain put on 45 in ten overs and when Hain fell, and Surrey had a sliver of hope, Trott snuffed it out with faultless efficiency. He was unbeaten on 82 (100 balls, ten fours) when the target was reached with eight wickets and 19.4 overs to spare.
None of his team-mates struck more than one boundary – they didn’t need to. Trott had taken responsibility for the chase and executed it, almost single-handedly, perfectly.
“The bowlers did a brilliant job to set us quite a small target,” he said. “Surrey were going like a train at the start but we managed to claw them back in with some excellent bowling and good catches and then we reached the target quite comfortably.
“The whole day, with the Bears fans in full voice at Lord’s, was fantastic. That was great fun – sort of the culmination of it all. I’ve been very lucky to be part of quite a few days like that with Warwickshire.”