Lack of footwork matched by lack of intelligence

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The Independent Online

Marcus Trescothick has been going through the worst spell since he first played for England. Suddenly, those spanking drives into the 'V' between extra cover and midwicket have not been happening and the ball has been finding the edge of the bat too much for comfort.

As so often happens when good players lose their touch, their feet appear to be stuck in concrete and this has happened to Trescothick. He has an essentially simple method of not chasing after the ball which is wide of the stumps and therefore not forcing the bowler to bowl at him so that he is able to play into the V. He has had some unlucky decisions against him in New Zealand and his confidence has suffered. As a result, he has lost some of that easy composure and fluency, which has always been a hallmark of his batting. And anxiety has taken its place, which has not, of course, been helped by the lack of footwork.

Instead of moving easily into the line of the ball, he is now reaching for it with his bat away from his body, which leaves him off balance. This has produced more edged strokes than usual and has caused him to hit the ball in the air more often with the attendant dangers.

What he needs more than anything is to play a long innings to enable him to regain his natural equilibrium. But it is here that he is not helping himself. When play eventually began on this second day, he had a little bit of luck early on and then began to put together some of those lovely drives in among one or two which he got away with.

When he had got to 30, he should have made two mental notes. The first was that on a pitch which has not produced a single century in first-class cricket this year, he had done the hard work and was in an excellent position to make a telling contribution for his side.

The second was on a personal level. He found himself in a better position than he has been for some while to play the long innings he so badly needs. When he faced Daniel Vettori who, after three overs, was turning the ball a fair amount, he played an admirable stroke when he swung him with the spin over midwicket for four. Shades of Graham Thorpe swinging Vettori's first ball in the second innings for six last week in Christchurch.

It was now that Trescothick's thinking let him down. He went hell for leather for the very next ball, trying to hit Vettori into the same place. Vettori had cleverly held the ball back a fraction and Lou Vincent accepted a steepling catch at midwicket. It was clever bowling, but unintelligent batting, from someone who should have known better.