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Tremlett returns home with best figures

Associated Press
Jun 18, 2011 at 09:53am IST

Southampton: Whenever officials at the Rose Bowl get round to making a Test honors board, it will be with a certain amount of poignancy that Chris Tremlett becomes the first player to have his name hoisted upon it.

Returning to the ground where he started his career with Hampshire and where his father, Tim, works as the county side's secretary, the 6ft 8in England fast bowler ripped through Sri Lanka's batting lineup on Friday to complete a five-wicket haul in the first-ever Test in Southampton.

Test-best figures of 6-42 enhanced the growing reputation of a bowler who is being compared in some quarters to West Indies greats Joel Garner and Curtly Ambrose, among other legendary pacemen. It's worth remembering that Tremlett has only played in nine Test matches.

Tremlett returns home with best figures

The tall England fast bowler took 6-42 against Sri Lanka at the Rose Bowl where he started his career with Hampshire.

"I'm extremely proud. It's been a great couple of days, not only for Chris but for the Rose Bowl," Tim Tremlett told The Associated Press.

"He was born and bred in Southampton, and brought up through the Hampshire academy. So certainly for the family and for Chris, to get six wickets in the first innings here is quite extraordinary."

Tremlett was born into a family steeped in cricketing history. His father was a seamer for Hampshire while his late grandfather Maurice, who was born and died in the county, played for Somerset and England in the 1940s and '50s.

It was therefore no surprise that Chris Tremlett began his career at Hampshire, playing 10 years for the team before a move to Surrey last year in a bid to kickstart a stalling career.

Now an established fixture in England's bowling unit since his recall to the team during the recent Ashes series in Australia, he returned to the Rose Bowl this week for the third and final Test against Sri Lanka with an enhanced status. And he hasn't failed to disappoint the fans who used to cheer him as a Hampshire player.

"He's got a lot of attributes like Joel Garner, height and good bounce," England bowling coach David Saker. "It's a big call to compare him with Joel but that height and the bounce he does get, he complements James Anderson really well.

"He's been fantastic for us. He needs to keep improving but he's proven to a lot of people he belongs in test cricket."

Tremlett has taken 31 wickets in six Test matches since being recalled to the England side after a 3½-year spell in the international wilderness.

In 2007, he played all three Tests in a home series against India, taking 13 wickets in six matches, but his career quickly went downhill.

"It was a bit of a wrench for him to leave Hampshire last year but at the same time he'd had a couple of injuries and had perhaps gone a bit stale," Tim Tremlett said. "With one thing or another, it was the right time for a new challenge.

"He wasn't in the England set-up at the time and he said that to get back in the England side, he needed to make that move to Surrey. It's proved to be right. I'm glad he got another opportunity."

The 29-year-old has bulked out in recent years and cuts an imposing figure as he runs into bowl. Sri Lanka's batting lineup has had no answer to him in the first two days in Southampton, with the overcast and damp conditions ideal for swing bowling.

"I'm very happy with my performance and hopefully I can do it again in the second innings," said Tremlett.

With no Test history at the Rose Bowl to speak of, Hampshire officials have yet to put up an honors board, which commemorates players who achieve notable feats in a match such as five- or 10-wicket hauls and centuries.

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