Somerset v Durham, Taunton, 4th day May 22, 2014

Trescothick leads victory charge

Tim Wigmore at Taunton

Somerset 234 and 250 for 3 (Trescothick 133, Myburgh 55) beat Durham 155 and 326 (Richardson 116, C Overton 5-63) by 7 wickets

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The roar that greeted Marcus Trescothick's century reflected the affection that he is held at Taunton and beyond. If the gap between his 18th and 19th first-class centuries at the ground had been too long - 618 days to be exact - Trescothick could scarcely have chosen a better moment to end it.

His innings did more than guide Somerset to 248, and with enough haste to make up for four hours lost on the final day to showers; and it did more than just take Somerset to second in the table, a position they hold as the division's only unbeaten side. It created a resounding sense that Trescothick's struggles last season, averaging 28 in the championship, were not the indications of decline that had been feared. Somerset have won two championship games this season; a Trescothick century has underpinned both.

They have been of very different characters. His century at Hove held Somerset together in testing batting conditions; here he hurtled to 133 at better than a run a ball. Consecutive sixes off Chris Rushworth, over long-on and midwicket, would have cleared many larger grounds than Taunton. But for sheer audacity, no shot matched a paddle over fine leg for six.

The opposition captain, Paul Collingwood, could only admire the onslaught. "It's a pleasure to watch watching him in that kind of form because it just proves that he's still one of the world's best batsman around," he said. "I'm not just saying English batsmen, I'm saying when he's in that mood he's literally got all the shots. It's incredible to watch. In many ways it's such a shame that he hasn't played more for England."

"We'll talk about that innings for the next ten years," Collingwood added, highlighting Trescothick's contempt for Ryan Pringle's offspin on a wicket that was offering assistance. "Hitting shots out of the rough over extra cover for six and playing around with the field the way he was. It's just unbelievable."

Collingwood believes Trescothick is even more explosive on the county circuit than playing for England. "I've always thought that when you play in the England set-up, the intensity and the pressure that's on you, you probably don't play to your 100% capabilities and he seems to have this kind of freedom," he said. "When you've got a guy with the kind of skill with that mentality, it looks as if he's a better player now when he's in that form then when he was with England. But I think you could argue that the pressure of playing for England is the thing that holds you back a bit."

Trescothick's intent was palpable from his opening two balls of the day, both harrumphed through the offside for four. It was quite the learning curve for offspinner Pringle, who was then launched for six over extra cover amid the carnage. With a serious thunderstorm due - and it arrived at 11.38, with Somerset still needing 80 more, and play could not resume for four hours - Trescothick evidently relished the urgency of the situation.

"If it's in the zone you've got to give it everything you can do," he said. "You tend to lose sight of the fear." Compared to his more adhesive effort at Hove (when his strike-rate was 49), this innings was "a lot more enjoyable because you could express yourself a bit more and I probably played a bit freer."

And it would have been all the more satisfying for coming after the struggles of last season. "Last season was unique for us because it was just a downward spiral," Trescothick said. "There's no doubt about it, everyone questions themselves. You probably question yourself even more at 38." At one point Somerset's skipper scored two runs in five innings across formats.

"You train, you work and you do everything and you think why aren't I getting the results?" But Trescothick resisted the urge to change the method that has served him so well. "I'm still working the same way that I have done from last season to this. Maybe it's just a bit of confidence, when you get that score that you need."

It has become a cliché to say that he is no technician, but Trescothick's nous, self-belief and knowledge of his own game trumpets any lack of footwork. "The winter was the key time for my rebuilding," he said. A championship average of 51 in 2014, is providing considerable - and rather heart-warming - vindication.

With the pitch having slowed over the course of the game, Durham's only chance of success rested on Pringle's best impersonation of Saeed Ajmal: quite the task for a 22-year-old making his first-class debut. He did not wilt, claiming Nick Compton lbw and belatedly snaring Trescothick at long-off, but far more established bowlers would have had no riposte to Trescothick's assault.

Durham's fate rather seemed sealed from before the day's first delivery, with Mark Wood - likened to Simon Jones by Trescothick - and Jamie Harrison both unable to bowl, although Wood still took to the outfield. Add Graham Onions, Ben Stokes and Scott Borthwick and you would have a formidable attack from Durham's bowling absentees.

"I would have loved to have seen the competition, especially with the rough outside offstump, of Borthwick and Trescothick," Collingwood lamented. Graham Onions and Ben Stokes, who could both return at Trent Bridge on Sunday, are needed: "It is a bit desperate at the moment," Collingwood admitted. "I always said that we over-achieved last year."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on May 23, 2014, 12:24 GMT

    @whoster on (May 23, 2014, 9:34 GMT) Do you think it could be coincidence that Tres's poor season coincided with the Buttler/Kies issues from last year - basically being forced to choose between his opening partner (in SFs) and Somerset's bright home grown talent?

  • Peter on May 23, 2014, 9:34 GMT

    Fantastic win for Somerset.

    I'm sure I'm one of many who was seriously concerned that Trescothick's poor 2013 was a sign of his decline, but yesterday he was back to his bludgeoning best. Even though Durham were depleted by injuries, they've got without doubt the strongest squad of seamers in county cricket, and they still had a pretty decent attack.

    It was a fully deserved victory, and with the rain forcing Somerset to take on the bowling, it was a terrific achievement to score 250 at 5.5 per over.

    It's no coincidence that Tresco's worst season for many years also saw Somerset's worst Championship campaign for many years. If he can produce this kind of form throughout this season, his side will be serious title contenders. Come on lads!

  • John on May 23, 2014, 7:43 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer on (May 22, 2014, 21:50 GMT) re

    "Yesterday afternoon you would have bet on a close finish with Durham possibly just favourites"

    Seriously? Somerset were comfortably over 100 for the loss of just 1 wicket with 86 runs required when rain stopped play. Being that the scorecards suggested that batting was getting easier I'm not sure how you'd make Durham favourites at that stage. At the start of the inns possibly but not at that stage

  • Dummy4 on May 23, 2014, 0:00 GMT

    Legend. Nothing else need to be said. I hope he's still battering county attacks when he's fifty.

  • Mark on May 22, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    Yesterday afternoon you would have bet on a close finish with Durham possibly just favourites. The sublime destruction of their attack was just astonishing.

    Normally, at Marcus Trescothick's age, when it goes, it goes. That he should come back from such a dire 2013 and play so brilliantly goes beyond unexpected. The fact that Somerset are among the Championship pace-setters after a third of the season is also unexpected. Not too many people expect them to stay there, but then a majority of pundits seemed to expect Durham to be relegated last season...

    I am worried about Durham. I was expecting them to come good after two or three games and they have not... yet.

  • Dummy4 on May 22, 2014, 19:06 GMT

    Feel for Durham, hit with so many injuries. Hopefully the lads out will not miss to much of their season or Durham could be in trouble.

    As for Somerset, it is so great to see Tres scoring again. No doubt the best player I've watched for Somerset and, as Colly says, on his day, still one of the best bats around. The Keynsham lad's still got it!

  • Dummy4 on May 22, 2014, 16:58 GMT

    As they said on the commentary, if only he'd move his feet Tresco could be a decent bat.....