January 21, 2002

Masterful Trescothick kindled memories of Gooch

The Kolkata police were made to toil hard to keep the enthusiastic crowd under control during the days leading up to the first one-dayer at Eden Gardens. The crowd scrambled desperately in a bid to buy the tickets but it was an impossible situation with more than half the population keen to witness the match. This is what makes Kolkata unique and special and eventually the crowd was entertained by a superb display from both teams. The hosts were made to work hard for their victory but unfortunately the incompetence of one umpire meant that they could not fully relish it.

Graham Gooch
© CricInfo
Marcus Trescothick threatened to "sweep" the game away from the Indians with a superb knock. His innings was reminiscent of the match-winning innings Gooch played way back in the 1987 Reliance World Cup semi-final. Trescothick was not fully fit and that made the manner in which he applied himself all the more remarkable. He seemed to have worked out a plan and though he struggled in the early part of his innings, he gave Ganguly plenty to worry about. Trescothick was very fluent during the Test series and he picked up from where he left off exhibiting emphatic stroke play. Such was his dominance over the Indian attack that the visitors were maintaining a run-rate of over six for the best part of the innings before he was dismissed. Mind you, not very often does one see an opener reach his hundred in the 26th over and that too with the team score only reading 169.

Trescothick was lucky early on and with Laxman spilling a catch off Agarkar, he made it count in a telling fashion. After he got a measure of the pace and bounce, he unleashed some powerful shots off the back foot against the medium pacers. Ganguly was forced to bring on the spinners well within the first fifteen overs but the tall left-hander not to be perturbed. He used his feet very well and tonked both Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh for a six apiece. Once the fielding restrictions were removed, he played very cleverly using Kumble's pace to his advantage and sweeping Harbhajan at will. At one stage, Harbhajan was at his wits' end when bowling to the man of the match. As far as the hosts were concerned it was a matter of getting Trescothick's wicket as the others failed to provide him the required support. There were useful partnerships but Trescothick did the bulk of scoring in those partnerships.

Marcus Trescothick
© CricInfo
Hussain tried in desperation by charging the medium pacers and though he picked up a few streaky boundaries he was never convincing. Kumble provided the breakthrough by trapping Hussain in front off the very second delivery but there was an element of doubt, which though did not go in favour of the batsman. If Hussain's dismissal was doubtful, then the decision against Trescothick that swung the game in favour of India was horrendous. Mr Sharma was the umpire who gave both the decisions and it appeared that he was prone to instant ruling. Agreed that leg before decisions are not easy but he would have been better off by taking time before he handed out the verdict. This particular gentleman has been umpiring for well over a couple of decades but unfortunately his urgency has robbed off a fair bit of credit from the Indian victory.

Moving on, it now remains to be seen if Sanjay Bangar, the only allrounder in the Indian squad will be pressed into service at Cuttack. There is no point in looking for all-rounders when the deemed one is not utilised. Anyway, if the first one-dayer is any indication, this one-day series will be enthralling.