November 15, 2000

Atherton and Trescothick enjoy growing confidence as openers

Staff and Agencies

England's opening partnership of Michael Atherton and Marcus Trescothick is fast becoming one of the strongest in recent times following their second century stand in two consecutive Tests today.

The pair, who put on 134 for the first wicket on the opening day of the Test match in Lahore, gave England a strong start and afterwards reflected on their growing success at the top of the order.

"The partnership is going well," said Atherton who became the sixth Englishman ever to pass 7,000 Test runs as he progressed towards 73.

"It is a left and right-hand combination, of course, and Marcus has done well since he has played for England.

"A couple of century partnerships in two Tests is the way to go. I felt in pretty good form most of last summer, and although I have not had a score on tour so far I do feel I have been batting very well," he added.

But despite their impressive start, both suffered lapses in concentration, gifting their wickets with some poor sweeping shots to off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq.

Trescothick made 71 but Atherton maintained their performances illustrated a growing confidence against spin bowling.

"In England we have not really faced too much spin in the last year. It is a different way of playing cricket, and concentration is the key," he observed.

Trescothick added: "I am still settling in. But now I am looking to go on to that next stage.I have had a couple of good 50s - but now I would like to go on to some of the big scores,'' he told Sky Sports.

"Today was always going to be hard work. We both faced 190 balls; we did not score very quickly, and it was tough."

"With the way we got off to that start it was fantastic. You look to try to lose as few wickets as you can through the last two sessions.

"We lost a couple, but that happens sometimes. They are good bowlers and they bowled good balls."