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December 11, 2001
Going in to tea at 99 is never easy. The best of batsmen like to get through the nervous nineties so they can take guard once more and set up their stalls for a big knock. "It did not really bother me when I went in to tea. Being not out on 99 gave me a bit of a buzz," began Trescothick. "When I came back out, I was a bit nervous. About five balls after tea, it was nice to get back in the flow again. I was not too disappointed at the end of the day. Getting out on 99 did not bother me that much," he explained.
A philosophical approach is all very well, but no one likes to miss a milestone when it is up for grabs. If anything, what irks his fans is the fact that Trescothick has always looked good at the wicket and yet has, in some manner, failed to capitalise fully. "I am playing well enough to get the big scores. I thought today would be the day. I felt secure at the crease and was concentrating really well," said Trescothick. He went on to approach the problem in a very levelheaded manner. "It happens to the best cricketers. There are phases when you do not get the hundreds. Then you might have a run of form where you score four hundreds on the trot, like I did last summer for Somerset. I am not too fussed really. I just want to keep working hard, batting well, and I know that I will bounce back pretty quickly," he said, on an optimistic note.
At the end of the day, England will not be too disappointed with their effort. There was a point when it looked like the visitors would collapse and not even reach as many as their eventual 277/6. Trescothick was well aware of this fact. "I think it was a pretty level day. Yeah, we lost six wickets, but we scored 277 runs too. If we bat well tomorrow morning, we are in a good position to reach a score of 400."
Despite their showing on the first day, getting to 400 will not be all that easy. The wicket is only going to get more difficult to bat on as the overs roll by. "At the moment, it is a pretty decent surface. It is not broken up at all, although it will certainly turn more in the next two days. I am sure it will break up a bit, so we have to get a decent score on the board tomorrow," observed Trescothick.
When asked whether English batsmen were playing spin differently, and therefore better, in the second Test, the opener could not really pinpoint the problem. "I do not think there was really a specific problem even in the first Test. It is just that the guys kept getting out. Everyone played much better today. It is just a case of working hard in the nets, knowing your gameplan, and targeting areas where you are going to score."
Even though he did not reach what would have been his third Test ton, Trescothick felt that his innings was an important one in his development as a player. "I used my feet to the spinners much more in this innings than I usually do. That is an important development for me really. It makes you a much better batsman in both forms of the game," he said. "You do not really have to take the attack to the opposition, but you must keep scoring. Rotating the strike is very important as it upsets the rhythm of the bowlers."
And finally, there was the unfortunate matter of Thorpe's withdrawal and return home. Trescothick appeared genuinely concerned, as one would expect of a fellow player, and had these words to say. "We wish him well and give him all the support he needs. He was our best player in the tours of Sri Lanka and Pakistan, so we will miss him here. But he has got problems to sort out back home in England, and we are behind him."
Thorpe will certainly be missed, and one can only hope that the talented left-hander will be back in action soon. His departure, meanwhile, will put more pressure on the likes of Trescothick. Today 'Banger,' as he is known for his love of sausages, delivered the goods.
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