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Strauss ton keeps England in command
by Cricketarchive Staff Reporter


Scorecard:West Indies v England
Player:AJ Strauss, OA Shah, CH Gayle
Event:England in West Indies 2008/09

DateLine: 7th March 2009

 

Andrew Strauss batted the entire day to reach his third hundred of the series, and lead another solid England batting performance in the fifth and final Test against West Indies. The England captain was undefeated on 139 - his 17th Test hundred - and shared century partnerships with Owais Shah and Paul Collingwood to guide England to a respectable 258 for two when stumps were drawn on the opening day at Queen's Park Oval.

 

Strauss won the toss and chose to bat on another hard, true Caribbean pitch under sunny skies, and used the conditions to fashion another hundred to follow scores of 169, 14, 142, and 38 in his four previous innings. The left-hander added 107 for the second wicket with Shah before his Middlesex teammate was forced to retire hurt on 29 with severe cramps in his left-hand. Strauss reached his milestone from 186 balls, when he drove West Indies captain Chris Gayle through cover for a single about 20 minutes after tea. After a brief appearance from Kevin Pietersen ended in the final over before tea, Collingwood joined Strauss and batted through the entire evening period to add 102 for the third wicket and was unbeaten on 54 at stumps. Collingwood reached his 50 from 108 balls in the final hour, when he dabbed Fidel Edwards into backward point for a single.

 

England had made steady progress in an uneventful morning period to reach 74 for one at lunch. The visitors suffered a setback when Alastair Cook was caught behind for 12 off Daren Powell in the first hour of the day. But Strauss found Shah a steady ally before lunch, although the England No.3 took close to three quarters-of-an-hour to get his first run. After lunch, Strauss inched to within sight of his hundred, but Shah's battle with cramp and the wicket of Pietersen frustrated his efforts to get England moving, as they reached 156 for two at the break. There was a close call for Strauss, on 47, when he attempted to steal a single to second slip fielder Devon Smith off Brendan Nash and was fortunate to have regained his ground. He eventually reached his 50 from 118 balls, when he tugged Gayle to mid-on for a single. Strauss and Shah were putting the grind on West Indies, when the England No.3 was overcome with cramps, and had to leave the field with the visitors on 133 for one. Pietersen has not been at his fluent best in the series, and Ryan Hinds, delivering his left-arm spin from around the wicket, bowled him for 10 with a delivery that pitched on the line of middle stump and spun across the batsman to hit off-stump in the final over before lunch.

 

England made three changes to their side with Matt Prior, debutant Amjad Khan, and Monty Panesar replacing Tim Ambrose, Ravi Bopara, and Ryan Sidebottom. West Indies made two changes, bringing Lendl Simmons and Lionel Baker in to replace specialist spinner Sulieman Benn and Jerome Taylor, who has an injured left ankle. England trail in the five-Test series 1-0, following an innings and 23-run defeat in the opening Test at Sabina Park in Jamaica, where they were dismissed for their third-lowest total of 51 in the second innings.


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