England v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Lord's, 1st day May 11, 2006

Trescothick sparkles on return

England 318 for 3 (Trescothick 106, Cook 89, Pietersen 54*) v Sri Lanka
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out

After a slow start, Marcus Trescothick was locating the boundary with ease and reached his 14th Test century © Getty Images
Two contrasting left-handers made their mark on the opening day at Lord's, as Marcus Trescothick signalled his return to international cricket with a robust century and Alastair Cook eased into his life at No.3 with 89, powering England into a commanding position. A late flurry from Kevin Pietersen signalled the intent to grind Sri Lanka down and the first act of the international summer could not really have gone much better for England.

Muttiah Muralitharan, in his first Test at Lord's, was Sri Lanka's sole shining light and caused most of the uncertain moments. He was in the action by the 23rd over and Sri Lanka were only making the day competitive when he was twirling away. Until Farveez Maharoof snuck in by removing Cook with the second new ball, to take a marginal amount of gloss off England's performance, Muralitharan was the only reason for any Sri Lankan smiles.

The biggest grin, though, belonged to Trescothick, whose winter problems seemed a world away. Content to leave plenty during the opening overs, he let Andrew Strauss do most of the scoring - in an opening stand of 86. He escaped a plumb lbw appeal against Muralitharan when he had 28, and a couple of edges fell short of slip, but for a returning innings this wasn't to shabby.

Post-lunch the Trescothick that has hammered attacks around the world came more into focus as the tempo increased. He made an emphatic statement by launching Muralitharan into the Grandstand, with a trademark slog-sweep, to reach his fifty and when he shimmied down the track to Tillakaratne Dilshan's part-time offspin, and deposited him down the ground, the swagger was back.

He went to tea on 93 and wasted no time completing his hundred in the evening session, aptly sweeping Muralitharan through the legside. The helmet came off, the arms went aloft and the smile went from ear to ear. England's balcony - and the whole of Lord's - stood to applaud the century, which arrived from 171 balls, the 14th of his career and one of the most important. With a far-from-testing bowling attack - Muralitharan the notable exception - there was a monstrous innings on the cards but Trescothick couldn't march on when he edged to slip.

Alastair Cook produced another example of his talent, making 89 in his first innings at No. 3 © Getty Images
While Trescothick had been the main feature Cook hung around in the shadows during their stand of 127. When he initially arrived in the middle, he had to work hard for his runs and struggled to pick Muralitharan's variations. However, he was quick to pick off any loose offerings from the seamers, especially when Vaas drifted onto his pads.

An early alarm did come from Muralitharan, but through his fielding rather than bowling. Cook set off for a single to mid-on and almost misjudged Muralitharan's prowess as a sharp throw hit the stumps, but TV replays showed Cook had just made his ground by a couple of inches. A flashing edge then flew between Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, but he slowly began to settle and the sparkling offside strokeplay that was present during his debut century at Nagpur began to make an appearance. However, with the chance to get his name in lights on the Lord's honours board at the first time of asking, he had a waft outside the offstump and gave Sri Lanka a late boost.

Cook's lapse came three balls after Maharoof had committed the ultimate sin for a bowler - a wicket off a no-ball, and it was Pietersen who was reprieved when the catch at short cover didn't count. Maharoof struggled with overstepping all day, sending down 12 in his 18 overs, and eventually one was going hurt. Pietersen had begun circumspectly - Vaas had a close lbw turned down against him on 4 - before unfurling his flamboyant strokeplay against a tiring attack and the reprieve on 52 could be costly. The pace attack is military medium at best and needs to take every opportunity.

The basis for the commanding batting display was laid through a controlled opening stand by the reunited Trescothick and Strauss. They had to be watchful during the early overs as Vaas and Maharoof found some swing and it was Strauss who quickly located his rhythm and threaded the ball to the boundary. England appeared to be heading for a perfect first session but Strauss became Muralitharan's first Test wicket at Lord's when he pushed a conventional offbreak to Jayawardene at slip - a combination that became the leading fielder/bowler pairing in history.

But, in many ways, Muralitharan's lone performance just highlighted his team's shortcomings and the pressure that is on his ever-twirling shoulders. With Pietersen having found his range and a powerful middle order around the corner it isn't going to get any easier for Sri Lanka.

How they were out

Andrew Strauss c Jayawardene b Muralitharan 48 (86 for 1)
Pushed forward, low edge to slip

Marcus Trescothick c Jayawardene b Muralitharan 106 (213 for 2)
Outside edge, another catch by the boot laces for slip

Alastair Cook c Sangakkara b Maharoof 89 (312 for 3)
Wafted at a wide delivery with little footwork

Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo