Marcus Trescothick: I was shouting at the ball. Thankfully it listened

Day of days: The Fourth Test finale shredded the nerves of all involved. Marcus Trescothick relives the drama

As play began on the final day of the Fourth Test at the Wanderers last Monday, England were on a precarious 197 for 5 in their second innings, leading South Africa by 189 runs. The five-match series was tied at 1-1. Received wisdom was that only two results were feasible: a draw or a win for South Africa. So much for received wisdom. Here, England's Marcus Trescothick, who scored a spectacular and match-turning 180, reveals the inside story of a famous win.

As play began on the final day of the Fourth Test at the Wanderers last Monday, England were on a precarious 197 for 5 in their second innings, leading South Africa by 189 runs. The five-match series was tied at 1-1. Received wisdom was that only two results were feasible: a draw or a win for South Africa. So much for received wisdom. Here, England's Marcus Trescothick, who scored a spectacular and match-turning 180, reveals the inside story of a famous win.

The morning glory

When I turned up at the Wanderers on Monday morning I was 101 not out, and the first thing I wanted to do was go back out there and regain the concentration that I had had the day before. Our initial thought was that we had to put the game safe, and therefore we had to bat a certain amount of time. Do that and we knew we would also be in a position to get them back in and maybe have a crack at them. We were always going to declare and we just needed one good partnership. The fourth ball I faced was perfect, I played a really solid, late forward defensive, hit it perfectly and knew I was back to where I had been the day before. Geraint Jones and I had added 20 when he was out and Ashley Giles came in. We geed each other up, saying: "Look, we have to have a good partnership, otherwise we're going to be in the shit because we'll be into the tail." Ashley scores boundaries and he took the pressure off me a bit because he was playing so well. Of our stand of 50 he got 31, I got 13, with two different fields set. We went from 222 to 272 before Ashley was out, which meant we were almost out of South Africa's range. Matthew Hoggard, with whom I had been intending to play properly, departed quickly.

Chris Read brought out drinks and I chatted with him about how I should play. I said that I intended to take as much strike as I could, probably turning down singles, and asked him to check with the captain and coach if that was all right. But I also looked at the board and Nicky Boje was coming on. There were 10 overs to the new ball and I thought it was time for a gamble. I was a little bit nervous. I blocked a couple and then firmly decided to play the slog-sweep, a favourite shot of mine. I played a hard cut for four first, readjusting my premeditated shot, and then one was in my area. I toe-ended it a bit, but with the altitude and having a good bat it just carried. My heart was in my mouth and I was shouting at it: "Get over, get over." Thankfully, it listened. Another over from Boje, and again I was looking for a big one - and this time I did get hold of it. A message came from the changing room to take every run possible. That's when it changed completely and, believe me, in that situation you can take a risk on the quicker balls.

The new-ball burst

The work was actually done before their innings in terms of how we were going to bowl and the way we would go about it. We knew that the new ball was crucial. Steve Harmison bowled his best spell of the tour. We have not really been at our best with the new ball this series but he and Matthew both came out and fired straight away, both of them bang on target. Steve was getting it to jump from a length and you couldn't score off him, and at the other end Hoggy was getting it on top of off stump every time.

Another big factor was that Graeme Smith was not opening because of the concussion he had received in fielding practice the day before. Instead you had a young guy in A B de Villiers coming in to try to save a match in only his fourth Test. He fell early, and shortly after Hoggy bowled a perfect ball to Jacques Rudolph which hit middle stump.

The end of Kallis

To have a prayer of winning we absolutely had to get Jacques Kallis out early. He took guard and Hoggard bowled him a beautiful outswinger, so good that if we could bowl that every ball, we would get him out a few times. He edged it towards me at first slip. Jonesy dived for it from wicketkeeper. I could see him, but he was never touching it, he was never getting near it. I just stayed down the line of the ball. I was never that worried. The one two nights before off Herschelle Gibbs had been different because that was out of my eyeline, but this went right into the hands. We were on a roll.

The fall of Gibbs

Hoggard, bowling the spell of his life and getting the ball to nibble both ways, got three more wickets, at 80 (Boeta Dippenaar), 86 (Mark Boucher - when we knew we could win) and 118 (Nicky Boje). Now in came the concussed Smith. With Herschelle Gibbs still in, it brought together South Africa's usual opening partnership. Gibbs was batting with easy confidence, but one more wicket and they were opened up completely. They took it to 159 when Gibbs hit a four. Smith raised his arms in exultation, thinking it was Gibbs's second hundred of the match. But it took him only to 98. Next ball Giles bowled one faster and flatter which hit him low on the front pad. I shouted louder than I have ever shouted for an lbw off a spinner. Umpires rarely give these, but this had a quicker trajectory. Most importantly, it was hitting.

The pulsating finale

Freddie Flintoff then bowled the quickest spell of the game. He cranked it up big-time just when we needed to tie it down. He bowled brutally to Shaun Pollock, first hitting him on the head. Pollock played the next, tried to leave one and was dropped by the captain (his second of the day), and was finished off with another beaut. At that stage the sun was beaming down. My only fear was that there were only 50 minutes left. If you can get into the last quarter of an hour you can hang on. I was nervous, because I didn't want to get as close as we had in Durban and miss out again. We had to win, otherwise it would have been devastating. Smith started to play some shots. But Makhaya Ntini was lbw. Nine down. Then Smith played so expansively that I actually thought he was trying to win it. An edge from Dale Steyn flew through slips, Jimmy Anderson dropped Smith at point. You pray it's not the opportunity gone. Stay upbeat. But the clock's ticking. Hoggard returned and I was immediately relieved. This was the man with 11 of the 19 wickets. I relaxed. He bowled at Steyn as he had at the openers. I knew it was a only matter of time, and Steyn feathered one to the keeper. That was it. England in my time have had some momentous victories. One tends to be overtaken by the next. But this was on an epic scale.

Marcus Trescothick was talking to Stephen Brenkley

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker