Marcus Trescothick may have been overlooked as England's one-day captain at the start of the summer but there is nobody Michael Vaughan, the man who pipped him for the job, can thank more for getting his tenure off to a winning start. In the evening gloom here, and against some of the fastest bowling this famous old ground can have seen, the Somerset opener guided his side to a thrilling four-wicket victory over Pakistan with a mature and responsible innings of 108.
The win, which clinched England a 2-1 victory in this three-match NatWest Challenge, was sealed when the powerful left-hander thumped Azhar Mahmood for six over deep midwicket with nine balls remaining. On seeing the ball drop in the Grandstand, Trescothick showed his delight and relief by lifting Chris Read, his partner in a vital seventh-wicket stand of 77, off the ground with a bear hug.
For Trescothick this hundred, his fifth for England in one-day cricket, is the clearest indication that the 27-year-old has returned to form. After a miserable winter in Australia, and a disappointing World Cup, Trescothick looked a broken man when he returned home in March but this century, and the 86 he score off 55 balls at the Oval on Friday are proof that the bad days are behind him. Yes he rode his luck Trescothick was dropped three times and should have been run out once but nobody in the full house crowd, apart from Pakistan's supporters, would disagree with his award as player of the tournament.
Trescothick has taken a particular liking to Lord's. This was his third hundred at the home of cricket but yesterday he changed the trend by not ending up on the losing side. When Read joined him at the crease, however, this did not look the case. After coping with the searing pace of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Sami, England collapsed to 154 for 6 against the gentle off-spin of Mohammed Hafeez.
Andrew Flintoff, Anthony McGrath and Rikki Clarke all fell to the spinner in a 17-ball spell where he took 3 for 3. It was in Read that Trescothick eventually found a cool, clear head and together the pair calmly started repairing the damage. No one would have been prouder of Read's effort than Rod Marsh watching from the stands. The Director of the Academy has been singing the praises of the Nottinghamshire wicket-keeper since their winter together in Australia and yesterday Read showed what a good judge Marsh is. By playing as he did the 24-year-old showed there is indeed life after Alec Stewart.
England's reply began in spectacular fashion. Defending 229, Akhtar and Sami roared in searching for wickets. Batting did not look an enjoyable experience for Trescothick and his opening partner, Vikram Solanki, as they ducked, dived and tried to put a bat on the thunderbolts flashing down at 95mph.
The speed of the bowling appeared to scramble the minds of the batsmen and there could have been three run-outs before Solanki fell to a brilliant catch by Rashid Latif. The first of Pakistan's near misses should have seen Trescothick make an early exit but Sami, collecting a throw from Imran Nazir at gully, missed the stumps from five yards with the Somerset opener some way short of his crease. With nobody backing up the ball ran away for four overthrows.
This was not Trescothick's only slice of luck. Against Akhtar, who deserved better than figures of 0 for 40, the left-hander was missed by Azhar Mahmood at slip but the easiest of Pakistan's chances to get rid of Trescothick fell to Hafeez at mid-wicket. However it was Latif dropping him behind the stumps on 93, with England still needing 31 to win, which finished the visitors off.
That Pakistan posted a challenging total was down to two contrasting half-centuries from Younis Khan and Abdul Razzaq. Khan arrived at the crease with his side in trouble on 44 for 3 after Vaughan had won an important toss. Early morning rain, which delayed the start of play by 45 minutes, meant conditions were ideal for fast bowlers.
Having failed to score a run in the previous two games, Younis could have been run out without facing a delivery had Darren Gough collected a throw from the boundary cleanly. But having survived this chance, the 26-year-old right-hander went on to provide the backbone to Pakistan's innings with a patient 63.
Younis's innings allowed Razzaq to play with freedom and his 53-ball thrash changed the course Pakistan's innings. After a quiet start the dangerous right-hander changed his tactic completely from the 42nd over. Clarke was the first to feel the full power of his hitting when a slower ball disappeared into the top tier of the Compton Stand. Razzaq then set about each of England's bowlers with an array of cuts and carves which saw the ball fly all around the ground.
Not even Flintoff escaped. After eight of his allotted 10 overs the Lancashire all-rounder had the outstanding analysis of 3 for 13. These figures took a hit, however, when Razzaq, on his way to a 41-ball 50, smashed 19 off his last 12 balls. In all 89 runs came off the last nine overs but Flintoff had the last laugh when he dismissed Razzaq for 64.
England won toss
Mohammad Hafeez c Clarke b Gough 19
Imran Nazir c Vaughan b Flintoff 8
Yasir Hameed c and b Flintoff 5
Yousuf Youhana c Read b Clarke 5
Younis Khan c McGrath b Anderson 63
Shoaib Malik c Read b Flintoff 23
Abdul Razzaq c Trescothick b Flintoff 64
Azhar Mahmood not out 20
Shoaib Akhtar not out 0
Extras (lb15 w6 nb1) 22
Total (for 7, 196 min, 50 overs) 229
Fall: 1-29 (Imran Nazir), 2-38 (Mohammad Hafeez), 3-44 (Yasir Hameed), 4-61 (Yousuf Youhana), 5-117 (Shoaib Malik), 6-165 (Younis Khan), 7-225 (Abdul Razzaq).
Did not bat: *ÝRashid Latif, Mohammad Sami.
Bowling: Anderson 10-1-52-1 (w3) (6-1-20-0, 2-0-8-0, 2-0-24-1); Gough 10-1-45-1 (nb1, w1) (4-1-11-0, 3-0-13-1, 3-0-21-0); Flintoff 10-2-32-4 (5-2-5-2, 3-0-8-1, 2-0-19-1); Clarke 6-0-29-1 (w1) (4-0-15-1, 2-0-14-0); McGrath 5-0-21-0; Giles 9-0-35-0 (w1) (one spell each).
Progress: 15 overs score: 46-3. 50: 70 min, 98 balls. 100: 119 min, 180 balls. 150: 161 min, 252 balls. 200: 182 min, 282 balls.
Younis Khan 50: 90 min, 71 balls, 4 fours. Abdul Razzaq 50: 43 min, 41 balls, 5 fours, 1 six.
M E Trescothick not out 108
V S Solanki c Rashid Latif b Sami 12
*M P Vaughan c Mohammad Hafeez b Azhar Mahmood 29
J O Troughton c Shoaib Akhtar b Shoaib Malik 20
A Flintoff c Mohammad Sami b Mohammad Hafeez 4
A McGrath st Rashid Latif b Mohammad Hafeez 2
R Clarke c Rashid Latif b Mohammad Hafeez 4
ÝC M W Read not out 25
Extras (b8 lb7 w4 nb8) 27
Total (for 6, 227 min, 48.3 overs) 231
Fall: 1-24 (Solanki), 2-89 (Vaughan), 3-129 (Troughton), 4-143 (Flintoff), 5-147 (McGrath), 6-154 (Clarke).
Did not bat: A F Giles, D Gough, J M Anderson.
Bowling: Shoaib Akhtar 10-1-40-0 (w1) (5-1-19-0, 2-0-4-0, 3-0-17-0); Mohammad Sami 9-0-50-1 (nb3) (7-0-42-1, 2-0-8-0); Abdul Razzaq 7-1-28-0 (nb2 w1) (one spell); Azhar Mahmood 6.3-0-41-1 (nb2, w2) (6-0-32-1, 0.3-0-9-0); Shoaib Malik 7-0-26-1 (nb1) (3-0-10-1, 4-0-16-0); Mohammad Hafeez 9-0-31-3 (one spell).
Progress: 50: 53 min, 63 balls. 15 overs score: 71-1. 100: 106 min, 135 balls. 150: 167 min, 214 balls. 200: 208 min, 278 balls.
Trescothick's 50: 114 min, 76 balls, 6 fours. 100: 215 min, 142 balls, 9 fours.
ENGLAND WON BY FOUR WICKETS
Man of the match: M E Trescothick.
Man of the series: Trescothick.
Umpires: D B Hair (Aus) and P Willey (Eng).
TV Replay Umpire: N A Mallender.
Match Referee: G R Viswanath.Reuse content