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May 11, 2006
"It was time to move on," said a delighted Trescothick, whose tour of India ended in dramatic and mysterious circumstances in March, when he flew home in tears and amid conflicting reports about his wellbeing. But all such dramas were forgotten as he found redemption in the middle, creaming 16 fours and a six in a 180-ball 106.
"It was time to get things rolling, get back in an England shirt and enjoy playing cricket again," added Trescothick, who had to endure a tricky first hour as Sri Lanka's seamers found some useful movement off the pitch. "It was tough, more than I expected," he admitted. "I knew it might swing around a bit but it seamed as well. We just had to watch the ball hard and play as late as possible."
For the home fans who packed the Lord's stands, it was as if he had never been away. Trescothick was the mainstay of England's batting during the Ashes with 431 runs in five Tests, but the reality has been somewhat different for a man unused to missing international action - prior to last winter, he had missed just three Tests out of 72 since making his debut in August 2000.
"I used the time [away] to take stock, sit back, then move on," Trescothick explained. "But I'm playing the same way as I have played all my career. I love playing cricket, and now I've got an opportunity to enjoy the summer. The start of the season has gone pretty well with Somerset, but back in international cricket is where I want to be.
Such is the close-knit atmosphere of the current England squad, Trescothick never doubted that a place in the side would be his as soon as he was ready, but there was nothing blasé about his build-up to the match. "I was pretty nervous," he conceded. "There were the expectations of coming back into the start of a summer, but it was a real good buzz to walk out this morning. It was quite exciting."
"It was a bigger release last week when I got a hundred last week against Northamptoon, because I hadn't got any runs prior to that in four-day cricket. But you're always under pressure to make runs, because of the expectations of the team and our goals. Today, I played as I would have done six months ago, but you've got to make runs because there's always someone waiting to take your spot!"
That last remark was aimed with a smile at the man sat alongside him, Cook, who capitalised on Trescothick's absence to make that brilliant century on debut at Nagpur. Today he fell 11 runs short, but his disappointment was tempered by the satisfaction at a job well done.
"It's been a fantastic week, I've really enjoyed the build-up, but it was nice to get out there, stop talking and play cricket," he said. "It's always nice playing in front of a lot of people, especially when the sun's out and you're on a good wicket.
"Another 11 would have been nice, but thought I'd played ok," he said modestly, having begun his innings after a nervy 40-minute wait over the lunch break, following the dismissal of Andrew Strauss. But, as an opener, Cook didn't mind that situation too much. "It kind of worked in my favour," he said. "It felt like I was opening the innings after lunch, and it was no different to walking out with someone else."
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