England's Strauss revels in fine form against Windies

Andrew Strauss plans to revel in the rich vein of form that he has displayed on England’s tour of the Caribbean.

The England captain batted doggedly on Friday to grind his way to his third hundred in the five-Test series, an undefeated 139, his 17th Test hundred.

It lifted his side to 258 for two in their first innings when stumps were drawn on the opening day of the fifth and final Test at Queen’s Park Oval.

“It’s been an incredible little run for me,” the England captain told reporters following his innings. “It has been a purple patch.”

He added: “Having been through a couple of difficult patches in my career, I suppose I appreciate this more and it makes you hungrier to
take advantage of it when you are in good form.”

Blessed to have won the toss and bat on another hard, true Caribbean pitch under sunny skies, Strauss fashioned another hundred to follow
his 169 in the third Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground and 142 in the fourth Test at Kensington Oval.

“I am hopeful that this time my hundred will bring us a victory,” he said.

“It’s a slow attritional pitch, but there were certainly signs of turn there in the evening session, which on day one is quite a nice situation for us to have.

“But we have to set the game up well. It was a good first day, but we have to continue doing this day after day after day.

“It’s going to be hard work again.
We are not going to rip through them by any means so we are going to have to work hard, and I think we have the armoury in the bowling attack to take the 20 wickets.”

England are desperate for a victory in the Test. They trail 0-1 in the series, following an innings and 23-run defeat in the opening Test in Jamaica, where they were dismissed for their third-lowest total of 51 in the second innings.

The second Test at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua was aborted because of an unsuitable outfield, while the third Test at the
Antigua Recreation Ground and the fourth Test at Kensington Oval in Barbados both ended in draws.
With victory their target, Strauss says it was a tough call picking a side that England believed could win the Test.

“There were so many different permutations and options we could employ,” he said.

“I think we went for Amjad Khan because he offers us something different, and he has the fresh legs, and West Indies have not seen him before. I think that is an exciting selection.

“And obviously, Monty has got great pedigree as a spinner and he has taken a lot of five-wicket hauls, so there is no reason why he cannot have a big impact on the game.”

But Strauss expects a hard slog over the next four days on a pitch that has played similarly to the others in the series.

“We need to get the first innings right,” he said.

“We need to get a big score on the board. If we do that, we can put the West Indies under pressure. And if we can put them under pressure, we have got the five bowlers in our attack to take advantage of it.”—Sapa-AFP

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