Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England in Control but Marcus Falls

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England in Control but Marcus Falls

Article excerpt


MARVELLOUS Marcus Trescothick went from strength to strength here today but fell just short of a double century while trying to tighten England's grip on the First Test.

Stand-in captain Trescothick was determined to press on this morning, despite having already banked 135 precious runs by last night.

And the rock solid opener did just that, although Pakistan gave him a huge helping hand shortly before lunch when substitute fielder Rana Naved-ul-Hasan dropped a straightforward chance at long leg to give him a 'life' on 181.

Trescothick swept leg-spinner Danish Kaneria high in the air to Rana, who seemed to judge the catch just perfectly - until it slipped through his fingers and fell to the ground. He wasn't so fortunate after lunch, though, when he edged Shabbir Ahmed behind just seven runs short of what would have been his second double century for England.

Geraint Jones then hit a quickfire 22 before being bowled by Ahmed to leave England on 399 for eight - a lead of 125.

Pakistan had dismissed nightwatchman Matthew Hoggard, Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff before the interval, but had becoming increasingly hot and bothered by the number of lbw appeals turned down.

Trescothick wasn't counting those incidents, though.

"I think it was probably the best of my 13 Test hundreds," said Trescothick before taking guard again this morning.

"We've got a nice grip on the game but if we could get a 250 lead that would give us a very good chance."

After a morning session which saw 118 runs added for the loss of three wickets, and then those two dismissals shortly after lunch, that objective looked a little distant for the tourists. But they were still firmly in control.

The sight of the injured Vaughan having a gentle net and jogging on the outfield before start of play was an encouraging one for England, even though it took a bit of seeing.

After two reasonably clear mornings in Multan, today began hazy, and Vaughan - trying to get his damaged right knee back in shape for next weekend's Second Test - had finished his work before the sun had done its stuff.

It's never easy to work out whether or not Hoggard is seeing the ball well, regardless of the light.

England's doughty watchman treats almost every delivery with the utmost suspicion and, having made it safely to stumps yesterday evening, he either blocked or attempted to block for another 30 minutes this morning until being sent on his way by fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar.

Pushing at a ball just outside off stump, Hoggard edged a routine catch to wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and departed with his side still eight runs shy of Pakistan's total.

Having been earmarked to bat at No4 a week ago, Pietersen came in at No6 here because of a reshuffle caused by Vaughan's injury and the use of a nightwatchman. …

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