Marcus Trescothick will have been pleased to have made fifty here yesterday at the start of his long journey to dispel the memories of a poor Ashes series last winter. A score of fifty is never to be sneezed at but it was not an innings he will have had loving thoughts about as he curled up to go to sleep last night.
If Glenn McGrath had been bowling he would have been lucky to reach double figures. There was the occasional flashing drive and square cut, but for the most part it was full of uncertainty and lacking in footwork.
If the Zimbabweans had been as relentless in their accuracy as the Australians, there would have been nowhere for him to hide. They would have plugged away wide of off stump until he eventually lost patience - because he loves to get on with it - and had a firm-footed dart.
Yesterday, it was as if he was haunted by thoughts of what had gone on Down Under. Often his footwork was non-existent as he threw his bat at offerings outside the off stump. No one will know better the need to get those feet behind the line of the ball. Yet it looked as if he had been cast in concrete and the yawning gap between bat and pad grew larger. Then, suddenly, and for no discernible reason, he got it right - for the odd ball. The front foot moved into the line, the bat came through alongside the pad and cover trotted back to fetch the ball.
His mind seems to still be in turmoil. He thinks a lot about his game, which is good, but he must be careful not to allow theory to confuse practice. The game can then become ever so complicated. Trescothick is a fine player and he must not distract himself from the main problem which is the need for bat and pad to live in greater harmony and proximity.
In the summer in which the England and Wales Cricket Board has decided, after spending £200,000 on market research, that cricket's appeal will be increased by the invention of the Twenty20 format, the game will have looked a fool to the many schoolchildren who came here yesterday. Spitting rain delayed the start for 80 minutes. Play began at 12.05pm and then, after nine overs, the players trooped off for a 40-minute luncheon interval while the weather was dry.
Luncheon is a word that is as outdated as the concept of an immovable luncheon interval. If we are going to update the game we should have the chance to munch our lunch rather than muncheon our luncheon. At 11.30am, when it became clear that play would start at noon, a supply of sandwiches could have been sent to the dressing room.
There are times when the upholders of these ancient rites need to be in receipt of the odd puncheon or two to bring them to their senses.
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