Trescothick puts England ahead

Last updated at 13:52 13 November 2005

Stand-in England captain Marcus Trescothick's 13th Test century put his team in an enviable position on day two of the first Test against Pakistan in Multan.

Trescothick (135no) and replacement number three batsman Ian Bell - each fulfilling those roles in the absence of the injured Michael Vaughan - put on 180 for the second wicket to help England to 253 for three by stumps in reply to the hosts' under-par 274 all out on a docile surface.

They came together after the early loss of Andrew Strauss, first seeing off the new-ball threat of Shoaib Akhtar and then meeting the challenge of Danish Kaneria's leg-spin too.

Bell (71) - who has endured a nightmare run of low scores which had brought him six runs in his last four Test innings - was taking his chance here, having retained his place only because of Vaughan's knee trouble.

Trescothick had lost Bell by the time he reached three figures from 164 balls, having hit 13 fours and one six and profited from sensible shot selection on a pitch requiring patience of the batsmen but offering little assistance to the bowlers.

Bell made a nonsense of his evident lack of form in net practice since arriving in Pakistan with a hard-working but confident innings which was just losing a touch of momentum when he was finally shifted by off-spinner Shoaib Malik.

Before then, he had been reprieved on 62 by a correct no-ball call from umpire Billy Bowden when fast bowler Shoaib bamboozled the batsman with a slower full-length off-break which had him playing much too early and then snaked between his pads to hit middle-stump.

When Bell did go soon afterwards - caught at bat and pad off Malik - it was ironic that there was once again a suspicion of a no-ball, this time from the end officiated by Simon Taufel.

Trescothick had one minor anxious moment of his own on 94 - although it was barely a half-chance to Kamran Akmal as a Malik off-break took the outside edge but made no height on its way through to hit the wicketkeeper's pad just below his gloves.

It was Mohammad Sami who had made the early breakthrough for Pakistan with Strauss' wicket in only the fourth over of England's innings.

Strauss hit Sami for two fours in three balls - a pull and an off-drive - only for the slippery pace bowler to then get one through his back-foot defence to win a clear-cut lbw verdict.

At 18 for one, England needed some stability to make Pakistan pay for squandering favourable batting conditions yesterday.

Trescothick and Bell did not let their team down, each adapting well to keep their concentration in at times oppressive heat and missing few obvious scoring opportunities when Pakistan were off target.

The late dismissal of Paul Collingwood, edging behind when Shabbir Ahmed got on to leave him off the pitch, just took the edge of the tourists' day.

England had earlier made short work of finishing off the Pakistan innings, requiring just 11 overs today to take the last four wickets.

Matthew Hoggard and Andrew Flintoff used the second new ball well to see off the hosts, whose chosen bowling attack for this match left them with a long tail.

The important wicket was that of captain Inzamam-ul-Haq (53), who completed his half-century in 90 balls with a back-foot clip off Flintoff (four for 68) to wide fine-leg for his fourth four to go with one six.

Flintoff soon got his revenge when he had Inzamam nibbling at a length ball which just held its line to find the edge before being neatly caught by Strauss at second slip.

When number 11 Kaneria cut Stephen Harmison's second ball obligingly to gully to close the Pakistan innings the last nine home wickets had fallen for the addition of only 113 runs.