England 318-3 v Sri Lanka: Trescothick springs out of hibernation with Test century

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The Independent Online

Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen made weighty contributions too. Strauss and Cook shared partnerships of 86 and 127 with Trescothick, before Cook and Pietersen added 99 runs against a tiring attack. Strauss became Muttiah Muralitharan's first Test scalp at Lord's when he edged a simple catch to slip on 48, while Cook provided Farveez Maharoof with his debut wicket here when, on 89, he edged a loose swish through to the keeper.

Pietersen batted with typical belligerence and ended the day unbeaten on 54. Sri Lanka will be desperate to dismiss him with the second new ball this morning - if they do not they will be in for another long day in the field.

Trescothick has played more fluent and destructive innings for England but yesterday's display seemed to reflect his recent state of mind, which has been rather sheepish. Personal problems were cited as the initial reason for his hasty return from Nagpur to Taunton in February, yet when he faced the media for the first time six weeks later he suggested that it had been down to a virus.

Whatever the problem was, and every England supporter will be hoping that it does not reappear in Australia during the winter, it must have been significant. Trescothick is not the type of character who would turn down the chance of playing for England for something minor. The 30-year-old is one of the most obsessive and committed cricketers to have worn an England shirt. Indeed, on a rare day off he is often to be found at the County Ground in Taunton watching his beloved Somerset.

Last night Trescothick pronounced himself delighted with his hundred. "It is time to move on from what happened in the winter," he said. "It's time to get things rolling again back in an England shirt. I was pretty nervous going out there today. But it was a really good buzz as I walked out and I think I played as I did six months ago."

Trescothick pointed out that there was pressure on his and all the other places. "Players on the inside have to up their game all the time because there are people outside pushing to get in."

Judging exactly where individual performances lie is a difficult task for a cricketer. Previous Trescothick centuries have been scored off far more testing attacks, but when he swept Muralitharan for the single that took him to three figures, it was easy to see that this innings meant a great deal to him. Trescothick has nothing to prove to his team-mates, who have never doubted his commitment, but he is the sort of character that would have felt guilty about what took place in India. And to him yesterday's 106 was the best way of repaying them for their loyalty.

Trescothick's innings, like England's run rate, ebbed and flowed after Andrew Flintoff won the toss and elected to bat. But the pitch offered the Sri Lankan seamers early assistance and the new ball occasionally beat the tentative pushes of England's openers.

But once Strauss and Trescothick became accustomed to the pace and bounce of the surface they began to take control. Strauss cut and clipped Chaminda Vaas or Farveez Maharoof to the boundary whenever they erred, while Trescothick entertained a sizeable crowd with several booming drives.

Nuwan Kulasekera, another ineffective-looking medium pacer, provided the pair with very few problems, forcing Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, to invite Muralitharan to bowl for the first time in a Lord's Test.

Muralitharan dismissed Strauss with the final ball of the first session but England were by now in charge. Cook showed his class after the interval by playing three sumptuous shots off his legs but his keenness to keep the scoreboard ticking over almost led to him being run out on 17.

In the next over Trescothick brought his half-century up when he slog-swept Muralitharan into the grandstand for six, but before the stroke he had struggled to come to terms with the spinner. It was something of a surprise to see Trescothick's innings stutter slightly because he is normally unstoppable once he gets going.

And it was during the difficult periods, when he failed to score freely against defensive fields, that highlighted Trescothick's determination to score a hundred on his return. He moved into the nineties by striking Tillekeratne Dilshan back over his head for four and then cutting him to the cover-point boundary, and reached 99 with a glorious extra-cover drive off Muralitharan. His innings ended when he too edged a forward defensive push at Muralitharan to first slip, but his long walk back to the pavilion was greeted by warm applause from a crowd containing several thousand children.

The arrival of Pietersen spurred Cook into action. The 21-year-old survived an adjacent looking leg-before shout from Muralitharan on 37, but the manner in which he coped with the spinner and lined up the Sri Lankan seamers, highlighted what a special talent he is.

Cook is a specialist opener and he showed why there is no need for Michael Vaughan to rush his rehabilitation. Cook's unerring presence at three will not have been lost on Strauss and Trescothick, which can only be good for England.

Lord's scoreboard

England won toss

England - First innings

M E Trescothick c Jayawardene b Muralitharan 106 252 min, 180 balls, 17 fours, 1 six

A J Strauss c Jayawardene b Muralitharan 48 119 min, 97 balls, 8 fours

A N Cook c Sangakkara b Maharoof 89 233 min, 184 balls, 11 fours

K P Pietersen not out 54 121 min, 73 balls, 9 fours

M J Hoggard not out 2 21 min, 19 balls

Extras (lb3 w3 nb13) 19

Total (for 3, 374 min, 90 overs) 318

Fall: 1-86 (Strauss) 2-213 (Trescothick) 3-312 (Cook).

To bat: P D Collingwood, *A Flintoff, ÝG O Jones, L E Plunkett, S I Mahmood, M S Panesar.

Bowling: Vaas 25-2-77-0 (6-1-11-0,. 3-1-6-0, 2-0-5-0, 4-0-18-0, 6-0-20-0, 4-0-17-0); Maharoof 18-1-94-1 (nb12 w2) (8-1-39-0, 5-0-29-0, 5-0-26-1); Kulasekara 18-2-63-0 (nb1 w1) (5-0-17-0, 1-0-3-0, 6-0-24-0, 5-1-19-0, 1-1-0-0); Muralitharan 27-8-69-2 (11-4-18-1, 2-1-2-0, 14-3-49-1); Dilshan 2-0-12-0 (one spell).

Progress: First day: 50: 62 min, 14.5 overs. Lunch: 86-1 (Trescothick 30) 28.1 overs. 100: 141 min, 34 overs. 150: 192 min, 46.5 overs. Tea: 199-1 (Trescothick 95, Cook 44) 59 overs. 200: 241 min, 59.4 overs. 250: 310 min, 76.3 overs. New ball taken after 81 overs at 275-2. 300: 345 min, 84.3 overs.

Trescothick's 50: 167 min, 110 balls, 7 fours, 1 six. 100: 246 min, 171 balls, 16 fours, 1 six. Strauss's 50: 143 min, 116 balls, 5 fours. Pietersen's 50: 93 min, 62 balls, 9 fours.

Sri Lanka: W U Tharanga, J Mubarak, ÝK C Sangakkara, *D P M D Jayawardene, T T Samaraweera, T M Dilshan, C K Kapugedera, M F Maharoof, W P U C J Vaas, K M D N Kulasekara, M Muralitharan.

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pak) and R E Koertzen (SA).

TV replay umpire: N J Llong.

Match referee: A G Hurst.