Marcus Trescothick: Disappointing opening day but England not dead and buried

By Sports Desk March 07, 2024

England assistant Marcus Trescothick was unable to put much of a positive spin on their latest batting collapse but insisted they are not “dead and buried” in Dharamsala yet.

With the Test series in India already lost, England are searching for a consolation win and Zak Crawley made a battling 79 but the tourists unravelled from 137 for two and 175 for three to 218 all out.

Kuldeep Yadav collected five for 72 while Ravichandran Ashwin marked his 100th Test with figures of four for 51 as all 10 England wickets fell to spin in chilly conditions before India closed on 135 for one.

The in-form Yashasvi Jaiswal muscled three sixes in his 57 off 58 balls while Rohit Sharma went to stumps on day one of this fifth and final Test on 52 not out to leave India just 83 runs behind.

“It’s been a disappointing day,” Trescothick said. “We were hoping for a lot more with winning the toss. We’re a bit behind the game, it’s not quite the score we wanted.

“We got to lunch quite nicely, had a bit of luck here and there and managed to get to that point where we were OK and the afternoon was where it all changed.

“Kuldeep spun the ball hard, more than we’ve seen from anyone else so far. Of course we’re disappointed to not quite match up to what we expect.

“But you never look upon it as ‘we’re dead and buried’. Everyone will take a look at themselves and potentially go, ‘All right, I can be better than I’ve been’ and hopefully we can put that right.”

While the dismissals of Jonny Bairstow, on his 100th Test, Joe Root and Ben Stokes within eight balls was the turning point as England dramatically crumbled, Ollie Pope had another forgettable outing.

Pope’s brilliant 196 underpinned a famous England triumph in Hyderabad in the series opener but he has made just 100 runs in his eight other innings and often appeared skittish when at the crease.

England head coach Brendon McCullum said recently the key for Pope is “to not have played his innings before he goes out there” but he was again ill-at-ease in his 24 balls here.

In the final over before lunch, Pope rashly charged at Kuldeep but seemingly failed to pick the left-arm wrist-spinner’s googly and was stumped by a long way by wicketkeeper Dhruv Jurel for 11.

“Ollie Pope is someone who cannot stay still at the crease for a long time,” Kuldeep said. “His style is such that he steps out a lot and tries to dominate the spinners by hitting them down the ground.

“He had stepped out early, so it was easy for me to change the variation. It was not that I had planned in advance. When I saw him coming out, I changed it.”

Trescothick, though, threw his backing behind England’s number three.

“Getting into an innings is always challenging over here, and facing high quality spin,” Trescothick said. “That is part of his game he is looking to improve on.

“I think we’d all agree that after his 196 in Hyderabad we had seen an improvement and we saw parts of his game that are definitely getting better. Let’s keep allowing that to happen.

“The more we knock down and put pressure on people, the challenges will come. He’s definitely improving, as are many other players in our team.”

While Shoaib Bashir recovered sufficiently from a stomach upset to take the field, Ollie Robinson was still feeling unwell and left at the team hotel, bringing England’s number down to 13 fit players.

Trescothick and fellow England assistant Paul Collingwood have been drafted in as substitute fielders at 48 and 47 years old respectively. Trescothick, though, hopes to avoid fielding duties.

“If I do, I’ll be standing at long-leg or something like that,” the former Somerset opener said. “I think Colly’s chomping at the bit to get on there!

“I think we’ve worked out a plan; it’s not going to happen, we’re not going to get on the field, we’ve got enough reserves in place.”

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