Strauss and Koenig waltz home

Lancashire 565-7 dec Middlesex 304 and 176-0 <i>Match drawn </i>
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The Independent Online

Andrew Strauss and Sven Koenig are in danger of becoming welded to each other. Their opening partnership produced five century stands last season and a clutch of other sizeable contributions.

Andrew Strauss and Sven Koenig are in danger of becoming welded to each other. Their opening partnership produced five century stands last season and a clutch of other sizeable contributions.

Yesterday they were at it again, piling up more runs together than they have ever managed between them. Their unbroken 176 stand broke Lancashire hearts as they steered Middlesex safely to a draw on a rain-interrupted final day.

Strauss, the Middlesex captain, led from the front with the eighth hundred of his burgeoning first-class career, a chanceless effort, occupying 180 balls, overcoming numerous stoppages and revealing a character who can cope with immense pressure.

Until the pair of them came together on Sunday to set about providing a more solid platform after Middlesex had followed on, their side had looked a good bet for defeat, in the face of some excellent bowling, especially by Glenn Chapple and the left-arm spinner Gary Keedy.

The latter's six first-innings wickets promise a selection problem or two for Lancashire. The county is hoping to be given clearance today at a First-Class Forum meeting to register the West Indies' spinning all-rounder Carl Hooper as a temporary replacement until the Indian Test off-spinnern Harbhajan Singhn arrives later in the summer. But not even Keedy could put Strauss and Koenig asunder. This is a partnership that could run and run.

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