Trott ton inspires England surge

Visitors take a huge 346-run lead

Trott's unbeaten 141 propelled England to 444 for five at stumps and was completed after he was floored by a Ben Hilfenhaus delivery that deflected off his bat and struck him on the side of his left knee when on 76.

The Cape Town-born batsman slumped to the ground in pain and lay prone for a number of minutes as he received medical attention.

He got to his feet gingerly, however, and eventually brought up his ton with a deft flick through midwicket that raced to the boundary under bright sunshine at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Trott held his helmet and bat aloft in celebration, savouring the applause from the crowd of more than 67,000, before embracing his batting partner Prior.  He and Prior's unbeaten 163-run stand took the wind out of Australia's sails after their pacemen had threatened to stall England's charge with three wickets in an incident-packed second session.

Prior joined in the celebrations by smacking a pull-shot off part-time leg-spinner Steve Smith to bring up his half-century before joining with Trott to belt Australia's bowlers to all corners of the ground in the final overs.

Wicketkeeper Prior was on 75 at stumps as the pair raised England's hopes of further tightening the noose around Australia's neck on day three with five wickets in hand.
Trott's century may also bring back grim memories for many of skipper Ricky Ponting's men, who watched the 29-year-old stroke a brilliant second innings 119 on his Test debut at the Oval last year to help England seal the Ashes in the fifth Test. The current five-Test series is level at 1-1 but victory for holders England in Melbourne will seal the Ashes with a Test to spare and make Andrew Strauss's team the first to take the urn home in 24 years.

England will fancy themselves to build an insurmountable lead on day three and have more than two days to bowl out Australia, whose top order batsmen have failed throughout the series. Australia's bowlers were handed the thankless task of protecting a paltry first innings total of 98 and were already under pressure after allowing Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook to romp to stumps an unbeaten opening partnership of 157. 

Paceman Peter Siddle raised Australia's hopes of limiting the damage, however, removing the openers in quick succession in the morning and later trapping Kevin Pietersen leg before wicket for his third wicket after lunch.


AUSTRALIA (I Innings): 98 all out
ENGLAND (I Innings, O/n: 157/0):
Strauss c Hussey b Siddle    69
Cook c Watson b Siddle    82
Trott (batting)    141
Pietersen lbw Siddle    51
Collingwood c Siddle b Johnson    8
Bell c Siddle b Johnson    1
Prior (batting)    75
Extras (B-10, LB-1, W-3, NB-3)    17
Total (for 5 wkts, 136 overs)    444
Fall of wickets: 1-159, 2-170, 3-262, 4-281, 5-286. 
Bowling: Hilfenhaus 29-9-72-0, Harris 25-7-83-0, Johnson 25-2-103-2, Siddle 26-8-58-3, Watson 10-1-34-0, Smith 18-3-71-0, Clarke 3-0-12-0.

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