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England labour to 184 for 3

London: Marcus Trescothick gambled and won as England closed on 184 for three in their first innings against Zimbabwe after a curtailed opening day of the first Test at Lord’s on Thursday.

Trescothick, struggling for form and without a half-century in nine Test innings, took the direct route out of trouble as he bludgeoned 59 in swinging, seaming conditions.

Fellow left-hander Mark Butcher, given two huge let-offs, was unbeaten on 52, leaving Zimbabwe ruing a mix of bad luck and poor play.

Zimbabwe coach Geoff Marsh said: “We are disappointed, really. It was a wicket where we should have got them at least six or seven wickets down.

Having won the toss, their often wayward attack failed to create any concerted pressure after an 80-minute rain delay.

Vaughan, the world’s most successful batsman last year and with the much tighter technique, retreated into his shell in an attempt to survive only to fall for eight after batting for almost an hour and a quarter.

Vaughan missed more than he hit. At one stage he was beaten outside the off-stump three balls in a row by Andy Blignaut.

Trescothick, who began with a slice past gully for four in the first over of the day, opted instead for attack.

Relying mainly on straight-bat shots down the ground, he never looked at his best but appeared Bradmanesque in comparison to his out-of-touch partner.

Vaughan’s good fortune ran out after 42 balls with the score on 45 when a leg-side delivery from the hard-working Heath Streak clipped the bottom of his thigh pad and somehow worked back into the stumps.

Trescothick, having put on 76 for the second wicket with Butcher, finally edged Blignaut to Sean Ervine at second slip, who took the catch above his head. He scored nine fours in a 115-ball knock spanning two-and-a-half hours.

Nasser Hussain looked comfortable enough before, following an interruption for bad light, he mishooked Travis Friend’s first ball to fine leg to make it 165 for three.

Butcher played the shot of the day — a blazing cover drive off Douglas Hondo — and was granted the luck of the day.

He had opened with two fine boundaries, a flick to leg off Blignaut and an on-drive off Hondo, before surviving a huge leg-before shout off the same bowler.

On 36, he snicked Heath Streak to Ervine at second slip. Ervine, moving right, appeared to have grasped the ball only to grass the chance.

Fifty-nine overs had been bowled before bad light forced a premature halt. Robert Key was the other man at the crease, on 11.

(Reuters)

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