Cricket: Sizzling Trescothick burns Surrey

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The Independent Online
Somerset . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .428 and 329-6 dec

Surrey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .288 and 48-3

A MAIDEN century for the 18-year-old opening batsman Marcus Trescothick in Somerset's second innings, which followed Mark Lathwell's highest score of 206 in the first, put Surrey in an exposed position here yesterday that was almost embarrassing.

With 421 runs needed for victory and three wickets already down - including Darren Bicknell and Graham Thorpe - Mushtaq Ahmed is poised to bowl leg spin into the bowler's footmarks tomorrow, which should seal Surrey's fate.

While Surrey had the best start to the season and led the table until a week ago, Somerset's start was the worst. Surrey have fallen victim to memorable performances by Somerset's openers, but this is a rural county and they grow them on trees.

Trescothick sounds Cornish but he comes from Keynsham in what was Somerset once. The name is more than Mushtaq can manage and he refers to Trescothick as Mr Banger, which reflects a passion for sausages and is the name he is known by in the dressing-room.

Already a fixture in the England Under-19 team, his 121 included 17 fours and one six from 210 balls before he clipped a gentle catch to short midwicket. Trescothick, a left- hander, is not yet an elegant batsman, but he is mature ('a 25-year-old head on his shoulders' says Bob Cottam, Somerset's coach), and he is very powerful, but he is a big boy who weighs in at 14st 7lb.

The other quality he has exhibited in four games this season is luck, an essential feature in any good batsman's armoury. When he scored his previous highest 81 against Hampshire, he was dropped when he was on two. Yesterday he edged Joey Benjamin twice through the slips at catchable height.

Somerset batted on confidently on this delightful, sunlit Festival ground from which no less than five towers and steeples can be seen (an English record, surely).

Nick Folland batted fiercely for 72 (eleven fours, 111 balls) and put on 140 with Trescothick. Andy Hayhurst and Graham Rose helped themselves to runs until Rose played a smash like a tennis player at an extraordinary slow short- pitched ball from the off-spinner Andy Smith and was caught at square leg.

That was Smith's fifth wicket. He took five of six in the second innings for 103, his best figures. But it was unjust that the burden of Surrey's spin attack rested on him alone; they rely too heavily on their young all-round seamers.

Surrey's batsmen were no more convincing. Bicknell played on off the bottom of his bat, and Thorpe was given out caught at the wicket by Vanburn Holder - a decision he clearly thought to be utterly misconceived. It sounded like a bad case of bat abuse when he returned to the pavilion. If he asks Trescothick nicely, he would fix it. Repairing bats is his hobby.