South Africa v England, 2nd Test, Durban, 3rd day December 28, 2004

'Too soon to relax', says Trescothick



Marcus Trescothick reaches his hundred on 'a fantastic day' Getty Images
Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss cemented their names in the record-books with an opening stand of 273, to swing a topsy-turvy match back in England's favour on the third day at Kingsmead. And at the close, Trescothick, who eventually fell for 132, was a contented man.

"That was a fantastic day," said Trescothick, "but we can't get too happy or relaxed just yet. We've got two huge days ahead of us, and tomorrow's first session will be crucial and will probably dictate the way this game is going. They are going to be two big days of Test cricket."

Although England have encountered some difficulties while going for their shots so far on this tour, Trescothick and Strauss had no qualms about taking the attack to South Africa today, and the approach paid dividends. "The wicket was pretty good," said Trescothick. "We're both positive players and we made the most of our opportunities. The pace was different today. It didn't zip off the pitch so much, although it still does a bit with the new ball when the seam's hard. If we get through that period tomorrow, we need to make the most of it."

In the course of their innings, Trescothick and Strauss passed 1000 runs as an opening partnership, and Strauss himself is just 33 runs away from reaching 1000 individual runs. "Watching from the other end, he makes it look pretty easy," admitted Trescothick. "People keep bumping him, throwing everything at him, but it doesn't really faze him too much.

"We communicate well," added Trescothick. "We talk a lot, and it doesn't always have to be about the cricket - it could be someone walking past, or a song someone's singing. We don't have to focus all the time, but just relax and enjoy what's going on. Of course, it depends on getting to know your team-mates and how they respond," he added. "Nasser never said a word when he came to the wicket, but Straussy and I have a joke and relax each other.

And Trescothick admitted that Strauss's unflappable temperament has helped his own game as well. "Of course it does," he said. "If you're playing with someone who's a nervous wreck, it's bound to affect the way you play. But he's full of confidence and taking it all in his stride. And he's been like that all through his career. He's calm, and it's helped him do so well so quickly."

Trescothick added that Strauss's personality was precisely what the England team needed. "He's an easy guy to fit in, and he's perfect for what we need at the moment. His attitude is spot on, he works hard and he knows what he wants. As a partnership, we've got on well since he came into the team, and since we know we are going in together every time, we might as well enjoy it."

For Trescothick, today's century was an important landmark, as he has attracted criticism for his inability to replicate his home form on overseas trips. "This is a huge step forward for me," he admitted. "I've not necessarily found the answer, but today, mentally, it was a big step in the right direction.

"And just to be involved today was a high," he added. "It's a nice feeling to fight back from a difficult period where we didn't bat or bowl particularly well. But it showed the character of the team, which is something we've worked on all year. We never give up, and we keep fighting and improving."

As for England's situation, Trescothick refused to get carried away by one good day's batting. "A lead of 550 would be nice," he joked. "But we can't get too far ahead, as tomorrow's a huge morning. We need to get partnerships going, and the scoring-rate going, and set our totals."

Andrew Miller is assistant editor of Cricinfo. He will be following the England team throughout the Test series in South Africa.