Strauss delighted with England start
Andrew Strauss credited an aggressive approach for him helping England get their groove back with his 15th Test hundred against West Indies in the third Test on Sunday at the Antigua Recreation Ground.
The England captain hit 169 on the opening day of the hastily arranged Test to help make his side’s 51 all out in the second innings of the opening Test, which they lost by an innings and 23 runs, seem like a distant memory.
England ended on 301-3.
“We’ve had a hard couple of weeks,” Strauss told reporters.
“After being bowled out for 51 in the last Test, you want to come out and play positively and prove to everyone that as a batting unit we have a lot of good players. In that respect it’s very satisfying.
“As a captain, it’s always important to get runs and lead from the front, but I’ve felt in pretty good form all tour, so I knew that if I backed my game plan that runs would come.”
Strauss struck 24 fours and one six, driving, cutting and pulling with a confidence that many knowledgeable observers reckoned had been missing for a long time.
“There are two ways to come back from what happened last week,” he said.
“One is to go into your shell and try and get runs, and the other is to take the bull by the horns and say, ‘I’m going to get runs’, and that’s certainly the kind of mindset I had.
“Generally as a team, we were positive, but in a controlled way, which is the right way to be.”
But Strauss was fortunate that everything fell into place.
He lost the toss, and West Indies put England in to bat, expecting the pitch—which was practically prepared in less than 48 hours following the aborted second Test at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground—to provide far more assistance.
Then, West Indies missed him twice. On 47, Gayle dropped him at slip off Sulieman Benn, and on 71, he edged between slip fielder Gayle and wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin for his 10th boundary.
“I think they expected the pitch to do a lot more than it did, and when they realised it wasn’t going to do much that subdued them a little,” he said.
“I was very keen to field first when I came to the ground, but by the toss, it was a bit more 50-50.
I probably would have done the same things, so it was a good toss to lose.”
Strauss admitted that England may now have to reassess their plans, following their selection of Steve Harmison and Graeme Swann in place of Ryan Sidebottom and Monty Panesar.
“We thought there was going to be a bit more bounce in the pitch, which I still think there will be, and Harmy can still play a big part in this game,” he said,
“But taking 20 wickets, that’s going to be the challenge. If you hit the deck hard from back of a length, there is still bounce there, and we’ve just got to make sure we do that consistently.
“Hopefully, the pitch will deteriorate, but the key to all of this is to put them under scoreboard pressure then they are chasing the game from there on.”
England trail 0-1 in the series which now consist of five Tests.—AFP