Captain reveals worst-ever nerves ahead of vital knock
MARCUS Trescothick has seen it all: more than 200 international appearances, 20,000 first-class runs and Ashes glory. But he admitted he had never been as nervous as when he strode out to bat in Somerset's second innings against Surrey.
His team needed 133 runs in two-and-a-bit sessions to secure a crucial win in their quest to avoid relegation from Division One of the LV= County Championship – and effectively send Surrey down.
And, while 133 is a miniscule target in comparison with many Trescothick has helped chase over the years, the captain was on a pair, having been dismissed for a third-ball duck in Somerset's first innings.
It had taken Trescothick until July of this year – 20 years after he made his first-class debut – to bag a pair, and the prospect of a second double failure left the 37-year-old shaking as he walked to the middle.
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"It's never easy when people are writing you off a little bit, but you've just got to try to focus and get on with the job," said Trescothick. "I'm not sure I've been as nervous as I was going out to bat in the second innings – I was shaking, literally, being on another pair. It's not easy – and, whether you're 25 or 37, being out of form is never easy. It's tough to take, so you've just got to keep digging in and keep fighting."
As it turned out, Trescothick hit 25 as Somerset went on to win by seven wickets, with the only pair of the match going to the world's best batsman, Surrey's Hashim Amla.
Victory – their first of the season at home in the four-day game – has taken Somerset out of the relegation zone, 16 points clear of Derbyshire, who also have one game left, and 33 ahead of Surrey, who have two games to play.
The platform for victory was set up by Somerset's bowlers. Surrey resumed on 97-4 – 52 runs ahead – but Somerset took the six wickets they needed, allowing only 100 more runs, before lunch.
Craig Meschede secured career-best figures of 4-43 as he took the first four wickets to fall on day four. First, he had Steven Davies caught at gully for 11, before Zander de Bruyn was caught behind for 10 as he tried to cut. Zafar Ansairi was caught behind for 14 as he flashed at one, before Gareth Barry prodded to first slip for 37. Stuart Meaker pushed forward to Piyush Chawla and edged behind for 20, after the Indian spinner had been switched from the Old Pavilion End to the River End, before Jade Dernbach went for glory and was caught in the deep by Alfonso Thomas off Chawla for a duck.
Somerset were set 133 to win, with two full sessions in which to get them, but their approach was simple: play aggressively and get the job done.
As it is Somerset, there were naturally a few scares along the way, with Chris Jones bowled by Dernbach for 5 as he offered no shot. Trescothick, who had been dropped by pantomime villain Batty on 19, drove Dernbach to cover for 25, with his side requiring 89 for victory.
Nick Compton ran himself out on 24 while attempting a second that may have proved beyond Usain Bolt. He steered the ball to deep backward point and went for a second, but was run out by Ansari's excellent throw, running in from wide third man.
The dismissals of Trescothick and Compton were a symptom of Somerset's bold approach to chasing their relatively small target – with only 55 being required when the second of their England openers departed.
Craig Kieswetter and James Hildreth appeared to relish finishing the job, with the former twice hitting Dernbach for six as Somerset closed in on victory. Kieswetter reached 34 not out from 26 balls, with Hildreth unbeaten on 36 from 38 deliveries as Somerset required only 23.4 overs to seal a 21-point win.
They have given themselves an excellent chance of securing their top-division status when they bring their season to a close against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge from Tuesday.
"We're not out of the woods yet by a long stretch – but to get 21 points in the bank gives us a real bonus," said Trescothick. "We'll enjoy the victory, because we appreciate how hard they have been to come by this year, but we've still got a bit of work to do.
"Hopefully, this goes a long way to making ourselves secure."