Trescothick gives glimpse of greatness

Arrival of a true talent on the international stage opens door for others to bat for England
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The Independent Online

Marcus Trescothick is a remarkable young man. He has passed every test he has taken this summer with honours. He came into England's one-day side and he immediately stamped his mark on it; he then came to Test cricket and in a meritorious change of style kept his head down and looked extremely secure for 269 minutes in his first innings.

Marcus Trescothick is a remarkable young man. He has passed every test he has taken this summer with honours. He came into England's one-day side and he immediately stamped his mark on it; he then came to Test cricket and in a meritorious change of style kept his head down and looked extremely secure for 269 minutes in his first innings.

But nothing has been more impressive than the way in which he set about his job in England's second innings. They were never going to score the 293 they needed to win but, with 71 overs available before the rain interfered, they could easily have lost.

The pitch was worn, the West Indies were buoyed by Brian Lara's brilliant 112 in the second innings and in recent years England's batting has had a nasty habit of shaking uncontrollably in similar situations. A good start against Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh was so important.

Ambrose's first ball went past the outside edge of Mike Atherton's bat and there was plenty of tension about. But Trescothick has a formidable temperament and he proceeded to take charge. His defensive strokes had a defiant ring to them and he attacked whenever he had the chance as if it was just another game of cricket.

He soon drove Walsh behind square for four, and it is a long time since a newcomer to the England side had inspired such confidence. His judgement was excellent and he kept coming half forward with his bat pulled deliberately inside the line of the ball. He knows where his off-stump is and has perfected the technique of playing inside the line of the ball.

When Ambrose dropped short, Trescothick pulled him high over mid-wicket for four. Ambrose will not have enjoyed that one, but it was a stroke of confident defiance. Soon afterwards he bowled one further up to Trescothick, who leaned defensively into the ball off the front foot and it sped away through mid-on for three.

There was a message in that stroke too. It told Ambrose that he would have to do much better than that if he wanted Trescothick's wicket. With Atherton carrying on in his usual efficient, but less demonstrative, way, England not only survived those awkward 12 overs before lunch, they also scored 42 excellent runs and told the West Indies that there were going to be no slip-ups this time.

Atherton produced one peerless force off the back-foot which raced away behind square for four, and, when Reon King came on in place of Walsh, Trescothick greeted him with a lovely drive to the extra-cover boundary.

Trescothick had made sure that England grabbed the early psychological advantage which can be so important in a situation as tense as this.

Early in the season a good many people were horrified at the thought of picking Tres-cothick. The cry was that he gave the bowlers too much of a chance. They will have changed their minds by now and it makes me wonder how many others there are out there who might make a few people scratch their heads. Until they are given the chance, as Trescothick was, we will never know.

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