Pakistan v England, 2nd Test, Faisalabad, 2nd day November 21, 2005

Trescothick: 'It was a bit of a shock to the system'



Marcus Trescothick trudges off for 48 © AFP

Marcus Trescothick hoped that the subcontinent would not be serving up any more surprises for England's cricketers, after an eventful second day's play in the second Test at Faisalabad. By the close, England had inched along to 113 for 3 in reply to Pakistan's first-innings total of 462, but their struggles had been overshadowed by controversy - involving both umpires and players - and moreover, by a large explosion on the boundary's edge.

"You don't expect things like that when you're out in the middle," said Trescothick, who was on 41 when a blast ripped out the advertising hoardings at midwicket and held up play for five minutes while England's security team ascertained that a gas cylinder had exploded. "My instant reaction was that it was something quite serious, and we were a bit worried for a while."

Trescothick, who was on 41 at the time, is no stranger to such distractions. At Rawalpindi on England's last tour of Pakistan in 2000-01, he and Alec Stewart were affected by tear gas that had been fired on rioting fans outside the stadium. "Hopefully this is as bad as it gets," he said. "It was a bit of a shock to the system, but fingers crossed that nothing else bad happens."

England were already in some difficulty when the incident occurred, with Trescothick and Ian Bell regrouping after the loss of two early wickets. "We talked for a while afterwards and just took time to switch back on," he explained. "It's just like you would after a drinks break or interval. As much as you can, you've got to get your focus back as quickly as possible, and get back into a routine at the crease."

England's distractions didn't end there, however, for no sooner had they resumed than they were talking to the umpires about some mysterious damage suffered by the bowlers' footmarks. TV replays showed that Shahid Afridi had used the distraction to twist his studs into the pitch.

"I can't really judge on it too much at the moment," said Trescothick, "but we showed the umpires straight away because they were on a good length, and it was up to them to judge it from there on. I have a good idea how they might have been caused, and I think most people have seen it on camera."

Trescothick was eventually dismissed on 48, caught behind by Kamran Akmal who swooped to complete the latest of a series of debatable low catches that have been a feature of this Test. But Trescothick, who himself claimed a similar catch to end Afridi's innings earlier in the day, had no qualms about the decision.

"With low catches you instantly have an idea about whether you've caught it," he said. "With mine, I got it in my fingers, and generally speaking, if you feel you've caught it, that's fair enough. It's all a part of the game."

A less common part of the game, however, was the controversial run-out that ended Inzamam-ul-Haq's magnificent innings. Steve Harmison shied at the stumps in his followthrough, Inzamam seemed to take evasive action, and after viewing the incident from several angles, the third umpire, Nadeem Ghauri, gave him out.

"It's an instant reaction from the bowler," said Trescothick, "but sometimes the batsman has taken a few steps down the pitch. I spoke to Darrell [Hair] and he said he thought he might just have lifted his foot, but it's the first time I've seen it referred to the third umpire while we've been fielding."

Amid all the excitement of the day, Trescothick's thoughts while off the field remain with his family, after his father-in-law was hospitalised following a fall from a ladder last Saturday. "I've got to remain focused on my cricket," he said. "Things aren't too good at home but they are improving which is good news. I've been in good form, so I can't afford to dwell on what's happened. I'm obviously concerned and get regular updates, but once I step over the rope, just got to focus as much as I can."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo