A Day of Tons and Toes

Marcus Trescothick's 96th career century, George Bartelett's first. But the first day at Old Trafford in 2018 was a story of far more than that

Somerset 321-5 Bartlett (110, Trescothick 100)

Those of us lucky enough to be present at Old Trafford on this glorious Friday in early May were able to reflect that this might be a day that we will long remember. This may have been the last time the great Marcus Trescothick reached three figures for his beloved Somerset.

The reason for such a gloomy prognosis was in no way related to “Banger’s” batting. From the outset he was in prime form. James Anderson, opening the bowling from the end named after him, and resplendent in his new bleached blond hair, was treated like a novice by Marcus who punished anything slightly off length or line.

The scoring rate in the early part of the day belied the overcast conditions. Renshaw departed for 21 in the 15th over with the score on 65 but this did little to abate Trescothick’s fluency.

George Bartlett batted with considerable caution and some alarms but was still there at lunch. With the sun now out and the pitch looking very flat Somerset were in an envious position.

The second-wicket pair continued their alliance fir over an hour after lunch and as Bartlett found his timing the score eased past 150.

Liam Livingstone must have felt rather besieged at this point and, perhaps in desperation, turned to rookie leg-spinner Matt Parkinson. On95 Trescothick played defensively and the ball ricochetted onto his right foot. The initial reaction of many in the crowd was of mirth, as is often the case. But quickly it became clear that Somerset’s opener had done himself serious damage. 

After much attention he resumed with Renshaw as his runner, but was clearly severely hindered, unable to place any weight on the injured foot.

Immediately after reaching his ton he departed caught behind ironically off Livingstone.

The remainder of the afternoon session was, understandably muted. James Hildreth perished playing an aggressive shot a little too early in his innings but Tom Abell joined Bartlett and saw his side through to the tea interval.

If the first half of the day had been a case of Somerset past, the second hand became a tale of Somerset future. Abell and Bartlett batted serenely in beautiful sunshine taking the score to just short of 300 before Bartlett departed.

His innings had occupied 210 balls in four and a half hours. A maiden 100 on the day when Trescothick had recorded his 96th. The most impressive feature for me of George’s innings was the changes of gear he made. Initially circumspect in a supporting role he blossomed in the post-lunch session as Trescothick closed in on his century. The loss of the two wickets in quick succession in mid-afternoon saw Bartlett reign in temporarily but as Abell settled he blossomed fully.

The only shame was that he couldn’t see out the day, falling in the 87th over.

Tom Abell finished the day on a very solid and elegant 48 but Steven Davies was dismissed by the penultimate ball of the day. 321-5 represented a solid position but it could have been so much better.

The prognosis for Trescothick provided by Jason Kerr after the day’s play was not optimistic. It seems likely that Somerset will need the future of their batting to arrive sooner rather than later.