Marcus Trescothick: a very un-English innings
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England v Pakistan, NatWest Challenge, The Oval
England knocked off the runs at The Oval today so quickly that one wondered whether they had a train to catch, or an Atomic Kitten concert to see. The Pakistan fielders looked bemused at the carnage - they must have known at halfway that they didn't have enough runs, but wouldn't have expected the howitzer fire they had to face.
Marcus Trescothick played the kind of innings that Englishmen just don't play, not in international matches anyway. He slammed 86 in 55 balls - the sort of thing that Adam Gilchrist does, or Shahid Afridi, or Sanath Jayasuriya. England's big one-day innings, by contrast, are usually more sedate affairs, like Nasser Hussain's century at Lord's last year, or Nick Knight's plucky bat-through-the-innings jobs.
It probably helped that the only McGrath on view was on his own side, but this was awesome stuff. Against Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami, both bowling at 95mph or thereabouts, Trescothick swayed back and cuffed the ball through and over the slips (one of these wristy flicks sailed for six). Or he crunched the ball firmly through the covers. Or he belted it straight back into the pavilion, this time against the offspin of Mohammad Hafeez.
It couldn't last, but when it did come to an end - in the 12th over - the game was as good as over with England 109 for 1. Vikram Solanki, at the other end, wasn't even in double figures, yet he finished up by batting through for 40 from 49 balls, not a bad strike rate at all.
Trescothick's onslaught overshadowed a fine England display in the field, in which James Anderson was outstanding once again. He topped and tailed the innings beautifully, by bowling fast and straight (aspiring death bowlers please note). Darren Gough was back to something near his best. And England fielded with fire and flair. You'd have to give them 10 out of 10 for this performance. Or make that 20 out of Twenty20.
Steven Lynch is editor of Wisden CricInfo.