Trott ignores distractions to keep England on track

Melbourne: As controversies raged around him in the heat of Ashes battle, England batsman Jonathan Trott was happy to stay in his bubble of concentration to craft a potential match-winning century in Melbourne on Monday.

Trott`s unbeaten 141 propelled England to 444-5 at stumps on the second day of the fourth Test with a 346-run lead, raising the tourists` hopes of taking the Ashes home for the first time in 24 years.

The achievement, while not lost on the laid-back 29-year-old, was flicked away like many of the balls he plundered for singles off his pads on the way to his fifth Test century.

"It`s just one of those things, very fortunate, and I worked pretty hard on my game along with everyone else in the team," the Cape Town-born Trott told reporters.

"Just happy to build a contribution to getting us in a good position, I suppose."

Unflappable against a desperate Australia attack, the only thing that could waver Trott`s focus was the searing pain he felt when a Ben Hilfenhaus ball found the edge of his bat and cannoned into the side of his left knee when on 76.

Describing it was one the most painful sensations of his life, Trott nonetheless got to his feet gingerly and later brought up his ton with a deft flick through midwicket that sparked roars of approval from England`s "Barmy Army" at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Taking things in his stride has been a hallmark of Trott`s short Test career for England.

Called into the team for the decisive fifth Test at the Oval last year, Trott stroked a majestic second innings 119 on debut that helped England seal the Ashes.

On Monday, apart from doggedly accumulating runs, not much else drew Trott`s attention in a chanceless innings.

He paid no attention as Australia captain Ricky Ponting and bowler Peter Siddle remonstrating with the umpires over a television referral after his batting partner Kevin Pietersen survived a caught behind appeal.

Nor did he notice Australia paceman Mitchell Johnson overstepping the mark for a no-ball that umpire Aleem Dar also missed when wicketkeeper Matt Prior was caught behind.

Prior, who was half-way back to the pavilion, was called back to the crease after a third umpire review.

Australia`s usual chirpiness to unsettle England`s batsmen also fell on deaf ears.

"I didn`t really hear any verbals or whatever," Trott said.

Trott`s pulse was briefly raised a notch when he was nearly run out when taking a cheeky extra run shortly before raising his half-century. He had to dive to get into his crease but the replay confirmed he was just safe.

"I didn`t really see (the replay) to be honest because I was flat on my stomach, but I had a feeling I sort of made it diving like this... I was just happy to be in."

Trott said he was also happy to let other players bash away while plodding along like a plough-horse.

"I think it`s important I sort of don`t over-rev when I`m batting and try to look to over-hit the ball... (to) be calm and be nice and patient and learn to play my natural game which is to obviously just accumulate here and there and let the other guys hit the boundaries and sixes."

Trott, who also scored an unbeaten 135 in the drawn first Test, in Brisbane would not be coaxed into writing Australia`s epitaph.

"We all know that the Australian team, like we saw the last Test match, have some good players," he said. "There`s plenty more for us left to be done in this Test match."

Bureau Report

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