Trescothick restores confidence after let-offs

Carib Beer XI 129 v England 121-3
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The Independent Online

Marcus Trescothick had every reason to put a high price on his wicket. After deciding to put time at the crease ahead of time on a beach England's stand-in captain had plenty to lose. And it could have gone horribly wrong for the opener had Jermaine Lawson not overstepped the front line in his second over.

On two, Trescothick edged the 10th ball he faced through to the wicket-keeper but the celebrations of the fielding side were cut short once they realised the umpire had called no-ball. There were further close calls for the left-hander ­ he survived a close run-out appeal on three and was dropped at extra cover on 35 ­ before he was bowled behind his legs for a fighting half century but this innings was far from convincing.

Though Trescothick struggled he needed this time in the middle and it sealed another good day for England. After bowling the Carib Beer XI out for a paltry 129 England lost two batsmen cheaply before Trescothick and Graham Thorpe moved their side to within nine runs of their opponents before Trescothick fell.

This was an atypical Trescothick innings. Throughout it he was watchful and careful. He looked determined to make the most of England's only practice match before the third Test.

Michael Vaughan, Nasser Hussain, Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones and Stephen Harmison were rested but Matthew Hoggard took four good wickets and Ashley Giles had his first decent bowl for a fortnight. The stunning display of England's bowlers during the first two Tests has meant there is little prospect of James Anderson forcing his way into contention for the third Test but the two wickets he claimed gave his tour some purpose.

The Carib Beer XI are not the equivalent of a West Indies Second XI but it still contained six players who have played Test or one-day international cricket. But like their countrymen in the current Test side they appeared to have little idea of how to build an innings.

The past month has been tough for Anderson. The 21 year-old arrived in the West Indies with hopes of leading England's attack but soon found himself at the bottom of the pecking order. Harmison, Jones and Hoggard found their form during the warm-up games and have not looked back. Since then Anderson's most important task has been ferrying drinks to his fellow fast-bowlers in Jamaica and Trinidad.

During his time on the side-lines Anderson has worked hard and each lunch-break has seen the seamer bowling at Geraint Jones, England's reserve wicket -keeper, in the middle. This brace of wickets was just reward.

Anderson looked totally out of sorts during his first spell. A rough outfield caused him to lose his run-up on several occasions and he looked a pretty forlorn figure as he attempted to find a good rhythm.

His mood worsened when he dropped a difficult chance diving to his right at cover off Clarke. Darren Ganga was the fortunate batsman but Anderson soon made up for his error. A change of ends brought a change of luck and in his fifth over from the Roberts and Holding End he lured Ganga into driving at an away swinger. The ball flicked the outside edge of the opener's bat and Jones, wearing the wicket-keeping gloves instead of Chris Read, took the first of four catches.

The loss of Ganga started an all too familiar collapse. Giles claimed his first victim when Dwayne Bravo top-edged a sweep and Anderson doubled his tally when he trapped Tonito Willett plumb in front.

It only got worse for the home side after lunch. Rikki Clarke replaced Anderson and found the outside edge on two occasions before Hoggard came back to clean up the tail.