Cricket - Trott ton steers England towards victory

Jonathan Trott's second Test century of the year and Ian Bell's second 50 in India put England on the brink of a famous series victory on Monday morning.

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Cricket - Trott ton steers England towards victory
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Jonathan Trott took England to the brink of series victory in India

Trott (106no) and Bell (61no) took their stand to 146 in a lunchtime total of 240 for three, and lead of 244, as India's faint hopes of a last-ditch chase to salvage a 2-2 scoreline receded to almost nil on the final day in Nagpur.

It is almost 28 years since England last won a Test series here, under David Gower and when current captain Alastair Cook was a babe in arms only weeks old.

England's number three reached three figures with a trademark boundary wide of mid-on off leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, and celebrated with feeling amid Indian faces resigned to a first home series defeat in eight years.

Bell, by his own admission, has not done himself justice in three Test tours to this country but made no mistake this time in a fine supporting role on his way to and beyond a 130-ball half-century.

There was barely a moment's anxiety as he and Trott continued Sunday's good work, having joined forces at a wobbly 94 for three when Kevin Pietersen was bowled shouldering arms at Ravindra Jadeja last night.

Trott's only alarm came shortly before lunch when he missed a Chawla top-spinner and was hit on the back pad, but umpire Rod Tucker turned down the lbw appeal - ensuring a wicketless session.

Cook's team arrived here needing only a draw, but the captain was at pains beforehand to spell out the danger of settling for limited ambition with stakes so high.

In the event, conditions dictated that a stalemate would have to do on a mesmerisingly slow pitch which precluded a scoring rate much in excess of two-an-over.

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