Steady start for England in final Test

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The Independent Online

England captain Andrew Strauss hit an assured, unbeaten 42 as the visitors enjoyed a positive start to the fifth and final cricket Test against the West Indies at the Queen's Park Oval.

England, after winning the toss, went to lunch on 74-1.

Owais Shah was undefeated on 19.

Daren Powell (1-38) was the successful bowler for the home team.

England, who strengthened its bowling for this Test, lost opener Alastair Cook for 12 inside the first 40 minutes.

The Essex left-hander was tentative when making a defensive prod and edged a catch through to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.

Strauss, with two centuries in the last two Tests, was fluent throughout despite a slow pitch and struck five fours off 85 balls.

Shah took 20 deliveries to score his first run and and was lucky not to be caught when he edged Powell just short of West Indies captain Chris Gayle at first slip.

He eventually got off the mark in streaky fashion, nearly running out his captain Strauss in the process, but Ryan Hinds from point missed the stumps with his throw.

Shah lashed Powell for two successive fours next over and added another boundary before the break as the Middlesex pair shared an unbroken second wicket stand of 48.

England gave a debut to Amjad Khan, the Denmark-born Kent fast bowler as it made three changes to the eleven in Barbados. Wicket-keeper Matt Prior and left-arm Monty Panesar were also recalled.

Left-arm seamer Ryan Sidebottom, reserve wicket-keeper Tim Ambrose and batsman Ravi Bopara were omitted.

The West Indies made two changes with pacer Jerome Taylor missing out because of an injured left ankle and left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn dropped.

The home team strengthened its batting with the inclusion of Lendl Simmons for his debut. Fast bowler Lionel Baker was handed his second test cap.