McGrath leads from the front

South Africa U-19 182 England U-19 183-0 England won by 10 wickets
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The Independent Online
MARCUS TRESCOTHICK finds himself in a curious situation. His batting for Somerset has failed to splutter into life this season, and even though more of his first-team colleagues are reporting to Musgrove Park hospital than to the County Ground, he has still been banished to the empty playing fields of second XI cricket.

In the meantime, he returns to his part-time job as captain of his country. And so confidently did he guide the Under-19s to victory yesterday that his county exile will surely be brief. Trescothick is an eye and arm player who feels that footwork is for sissies, which means he has less to fall back on when off form. Yesterday, however, his form returned.

In an exhilarating partnership, the deft Yorkshireman Anthony McGrath showed a contrasting style - playing late but quickly on to the loose ball. On a true wicket they outclassed the bowling, dismissing speed and spin with ease.

The visiting skipper, Neil McKenzie, chose to bat in conditions that by recent Saturday standards were fair. For 90 minutes South Africa laid the foundations for a substantial score in this first of two 55-over one- day matches that precede a series of three "Tests", though the England openers were later to make nonsense of such calculations. They had reached 88 for one in the 26th over.

From then until lunch the visitors were paralysed by the lemming-like impulse familiar to all weekend cricketers. There was no need to panic, but they did and a further five wickets disappeared in 13 overs. McKenzie was among the culprits, ballooning a skier to Vikram Solanki at deep point.

The situation had been induced by thoroughly disciplined bowling, showing the benefit of a winter tour to the West Indies that all of yesterday's team, bar Lancashire's Richard Green, took part in. The most impressive performers were Durham's Neil Killeen and, above all, the Yorkshire bowler Alex Morris.

Morris was held back until the 33rd over. If he was frustrated by this it was the South Africans who suffered, and he destroyed any hopes they had in his spell before the lunch interval.

For his winning top score McGrath claimed the man of the match award after striking 14 fours and a six to Trescothick's 10 fours. Battle resumes on Tuesday at Chelmsford.