Sussex v Somerset, Hove, 2nd day April 28, 2014

Trescothick ton helps banish memories

Sussex 25 for 1 trail Somerset 372 (Trescothick 116, Petersen 76, Jordan 5-76) by 347 runs

County cricket has sustained Marcus Trescothick for nearly eight long years since his England career came to such a premature end. It has given him professional consolation and personal contentment and he has given a huge amount of entertainment in return. For those who care only for England, he has been a player lost from view before his time. On the county circuit, where the best players are often absent, his presence has been a blessing.

This is an age when so many England cricketers retire without a second thought of finishing their days traversing the county grounds of England, but Trescothick because of personal circumstance has been an exception. His commitment has been unconditional as he has galumphed around the circuit, despatching attacks in that amiable and big boned manner. He symbolises much that is good about Somerset but he has gained a popularity that goes beyond mere partisanship.

That bond between the player and those who watch has rarely been stronger than on the second day of this contest at Hove. This time the applause for his hundred was tinged with relief. It marked Trescothick's first Championship century since September 2012. Last season he went without one for the first time since 1998 and, at 38, unsuccessful runs so prolonged are not often reversed.

Trescothick's 116, an innings ended when he spectacularly lost his middle stump driving ambitiously at Steve Magoffin, armed with the second new ball, would not figure in the list of the most dominant of his 57 first-class centuries, but it would deserve a mention for difficulty.

He turned around his form in exacting circumstances, labouring for five hours in overcast conditions and on a surface where Chris Jordan, coming down the hill, finished with 5 for 76 in 27.3 overs and did much to advertise his claims for a Test debut against Sri Lanka at Lord's in June. Jordan earned the hill on the first day; he won it by right on the second. "I like coming down the hill," he said.

When Trescothick assesses a player he does so with a wealth of experience behind him, no more so than when considering the attributes of a new-ball bowler. He recognises in Jordan a player whose threat is developing, and views him of capable of making the grade in a Test debut against Sri Lanka at Lord's if he outdoes rivals for the place such as Tim Bresnan and Chris Woakes.

Quite how Chris Adams, who has been brought in by Sri Lanka as a consultant for their tour of England, will explain that he saw fit to release Jordan at Surrey is hard to imagine. He, too, thought Jordan was going downhill - though not in the way he did at Hove.

"He bowled a heavy ball: he is probably quicker than most," Trescothick said. "I didn't bat against him much last season because I got a pair. But from two seasons ago I would say he has come on a long, long way. He looks a good prospect.

"He has a big chance at the start of the summer. There is a very good chance he could make the starting line-up because his batting has also been good in the one-day games. He will be fresh on the lips of the selectors."

The groundwork for Trescothick's hundred was laid on the first evening when he negotiated a passage of 32 overs that could easily have seen Somerset lose half a dozen wickets; to lose three, one of them a nightwatchman, represented a job well done. Jordan continued to find alarming bounce at times with the slope in his favour on the second day, but Trescothick's peace of mind never wavered. He progressed in relaxed fashion, as contented as if he was tucked under a duvet watching a favourite DVD.

When he brought up his hundred half-an-hour after lunch, it banished more bad memories. Last year - now very much last year, a year put behind him - he made the first pair of his Championship career against Sussex, his fourth successive duck in all competitions. On both occasions, the bowler was James Anyon. It was Anyon again who this time was pulled through the legside to reach 99 and then pushed wide of mid on the next ball to rid himself of the leanest run of his career.

"It was tough at all times," he said. "The new ball in particular was pretty hard to face. I had to graft and dig in." The pair had not crossed his mind when he made his hundred, he said. But it had crossed his mind on nought. "I was pretty twitchy to begin with," he said.

Packing up the footballs on the dressing room balcony as he spoke was David Houghton, who was released by Derbyshire last October as part of a coaching reshuffle and who has been centrally involved in Trescothick's drive as Somerset's new batting coach.

"We were lucky to pick him up when left Derby and we have done massive amounts of work. John Pitt is also our mind coach - our sports performance coach - and these sorts of people are always vitally important, building individuals back up into the right frame of mind."

Somerset look a reliable fast bowler short of a good season, but they have played some solid cricket so far with draws against Yorkshire, seen as prospective champions by many, and the defending champions Durham. They are commandingly placed midway through this game and have already picked up the in-form Ed Joyce in the 11 overs faced by Sussex before the close.

Trescothick's accomplice in a fifth-wicket stand of 139 was Alviro Petersen, whose assertive 76 needed two let-offs - by Joyce at third slip off Jordan and by the wicketkeeper Ben Brown, who missed a low chance as Petersen sought to cut the slingy slow left-armer Ashar Zaidi.

England are taking a cagey approach with the management of Matt Prior's Achilles problems. He is expected to return as a batsman against Lancashire at Old Trafford, returning to wicketkeeping duties the following week against Durham.

Upon Trescothick's departure, the second new ball seemed likely to bring Somerset's innings to a quick conclusion - James Hildreth received a brute from Jordan to be caught at third slip - but the use of two nightwatchmen meant that Lewis Gregory walked out at No. 11. He is a clean hitter and the knowledge that nine wickets were down did not constrain him. He added 75 in 15 overs with Johann Myburgh, playing with great gusto for 47 from 51 balls before he perished on the cover boundary, leaving Jordan with an eye-catching return.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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  • John on April 29, 2014, 10:38 GMT

    @siltbreeze - I've made the points comparison win to draw to defeat on a number of occasions. Presuming we play the extra bowler I presume Jones drops out and everyone else moves up a place in the order? Just a thought - could there be the thinking that Nick will get called up by England and they want to give Jones a run? The side certainly looks set up for the draw 1st and a win if things go well. Reminds me a bit of England.Difference is that England have 5 days to produce a result whereas Somerset only have 4. Also I've always preferred 5 decent bowling options - ideally in England a full time spinner and 3 full time pacers and maybe a medium pacer as an all rounder. To be honest/fair - Yorks was unlikely to produce a result with an extra bowler and while they may have done vs Durham I felt Collingwood was really negative in not declaring earlier. We'll see how it goes but it certainly looks like a side built to try and finish mid table than 1 to challenge for the title

  • Martin on April 29, 2014, 8:23 GMT

    Great to see Tres get a century. Our batting is still pretty reliant on him - if he has a good season, we'll do alright. Agree with others that he might be better just concentrating on enjoying batting for his last season or two. I'd consider giving Hildreth the captaincy - might just reinvigorate a career that seems to be drifting.

    @JG2704 It really is an unadventurous formation and I'm sure Nosworthy is thinking that draws from these first three matches would be a good result. But there's such a points difference between a draw and a win these days, and it remains to be seen whether we can force a result against weaker teams. I just hope Dockrell plays next game - I really don't like to see us go in without a spinner while three good young ones languish in the 2nds.

  • John on April 29, 2014, 7:22 GMT

    Well done Tres. Hopefully can hit a run of form from here. If memory serves me right he failed to score a ton in the whole of the 2013 FC season and now he has one - on top of the warm up game vs Middlesex where he faced Finn,Rolan Jones and Harris..

    Still think it's an unadventurous formation but I suppose it could be said to have worked vs Durham and Yorks - last years top 2 when they chased and overtook a big 1st inns score vs Yorks and were well behind after the 1st 3 inns vs Durham and probably looked favourites to win when they ran out of time It could well be that Durham,Yorks and Sussex are in the top 3 this season so maybe they will show a bit more ambition vs other teams

  • Dummy4 on April 28, 2014, 22:11 GMT

    So happy to hear Tres got a ton today. Was following the updates until he got it. Batting seems to be a lot sturdier this year, hopefully due to DH and not luck. Alviro is looking more and more like a poor choice for an OS player... shame, like the guy and he is a top bat but we really need a bowler... an Umar Gul, or a Trent Boult. Gregory is coming on leaps and bounds however, been a big fan since his 4-fer against Glos a season or 2 ago.

    Anyway, today was about celebrating one of the greatest players Somerset has ever produced. He has taken a lot of criticism recently for his form and, whilst I still have my reservations about his captaincy, there's not a chance in hell I'd drop him. Tres would still walk in to any county side, guaranteed.

  • Mark on April 28, 2014, 20:14 GMT

    Well batted Tresco!! Not the best hundred ever. Not the prettiest either. But it was one of the bravest. I still have my doubts that he'll see out the season but, even he does not, he can go out now with his head held high. I've followed his career closely since he was an England U19 player, struggling to hold a middle-order place for Somerset and, later, when fans said that he should never play for England again -- just before a match-winning 219 against South Africa won a match that looked unwinnable. He has been a wonderful servant for England and Somerset and he has saved his side in this match.

    Chris Jordan has been a revelation, again. Any 5-for. Why was he released by Surrey? The evidence that something was very wrong around the Surrey dressing room has been there for all to see for at least two years. The list of players who have left and started to thrive over recent years is getting longer and longer and such as Dernbach have seemed to go backwards instead of progressing.

  • Dummy4 on April 28, 2014, 19:30 GMT

    At last, normality has returned to the world of county Cricket. It is only one hundred but if a man ever needed it or deserved it, it is one M Trescothick. Now, lets have a proper Tresco season and give the fans something to cheer. RE: the game. May not be enough time left to force the win, but should have the draw in the bag. A huge improvement on last seasons brittle batting

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