JONATHAN TROTT, the Cape Town-raised Englishman who proved to be such a thorn in South Africa’s side in the tumultuous first Test in Centurion, heads into the Boxing Day Test at soggy Durban insisting: “I will give it my all.”
Trott, who batted a marathon 212 balls and over five hours (316 minutes with five boundaries), scoring a defiant 61 to help guide England to a draw – by a single wicket – insists he relished the experience of playing under the baking sun for five days against the nation of his birth.
And he is all geared up for the post-Christmas showdown at Kingsmead, where he will get little sympathy from the partisan locals who inhabit the notorious Castle Corner.
Trott, red-faced from the blazing sun after his first overseas Test, said: "You always wonder what it will feel like if one day you have the opportunity to play a Test match back in South Africa – I enjoyed the whole experience and look forward to a few more, I hope."
Trott and Pietermaritzburg-reared Kevin Pietersen produced a 145-run partnership for the fourth wicket which held South Africa at bay for xxx hours – and both came under fire from South Africa captain Graeme Smith.
Smith felt Trott takes too long to prepare for each ball when he is settling down to repel the opposition. Smith ranted: “It’s frustrating. I take a while to prepare myself but when he’s stopping the bowler in mid-run-up all the time, something has to be done. He’s been warned in the one-dayers and he’s been warned in this Test.”
But Warwickshire warrior Trott, 28, appears undaunted by Smith’s trenchant criticism. He says, which a distinct South African burr: "I’ve never had complaints before and I won't be trying to do anything different."
It was only when Trott departed – the first victim of 29-year-old debutant Friedel de Wet in a devastating new ball spell of 3-11 off seven overs – that England began to look shakey, losing Ian Bell, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann in an alarming last hour collapse. No11 Graham “Bunions” Onions and the ever-reliable Paul Collingwood were left to see off the South Africans in a tense finish on Sunday night.
Trott shrugged off his endless crease scratching and pitch flattening, insisting: "It's one of those things I do to get myself prepared and make sure I'm in the right frame of mind to help contribute to the England side.
"I don't play cricket to get under people's skin - I play cricket to be effective. I have my things I do to get myself ready for battle.
"Maybe it can mess with their over rate or whatever, but it's just what I do - and I won't be changing it.
"It's what's got me to this position to be able to play for England - and it's an exciting time."
Though the Durban showdown is likely to be hit by rain – the local weather forecasters are saying there is a 60 percent chance of daily interruptions in the tropical port city – Trott says the mood in the camp is strong as they settle in at their plush hotel in Umhlanga, 10 miles north of Durban, where the Indian Ocean’s crashing waves draw the surfing fraternity.
He said: "It was a great effort by the guys to pull through and for Paul and Bunions to get us out of a spot of bother and keep the series level at 0-0. The team showed good spirit and guts to get through it."