Strauss in command as England set record

England 391-4 v Bangladesh
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The Independent Online

It's official, Australia's cricketers have been spooked out on their tour of England. No, not by the vision of Kevin Pietersen smashing their bowlers around Bristol, or by the illusion of Stephen Harmison ripping through their highly rated batting line-up; but by The Lily of Lumley, the ghost that is believed to haunt Lumley Castle, the hotel in Durham where the tourists are staying before the NatWest series encounter against England tomorrow.

And Lily was at work on Monday night when she caused several members of the Australian touring party to have a sleepless night. The ghost is said to come up via a well within the 14th-century castle, and rumblings in the night led to Shane Watson abandoning his room and sleeping on Brett Lee's floor.

The sight of England's batsmen posting their highest ever one-day score, and the second highest in the history of limited-over cricket, yesterday evening would have done little to relieve the anxiety of the all-rounder.

Marcus Trescothick led the charge with a 65-ball innings of 85 but it was the carnage created by Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood that delighted a partisan Trent Bridge crowd. Both batsmen feasted themselves on a toothless Bangladeshi bowling attack that was powerless to stop the onslaught.

At one stage it looked as though Michael Vaughan's side would become the first team to post a total in excess of 400, but a decent last over prevented England breaking Sri Lanka's world record score of 398-5 against Kenya in 1995-96.

The pair - through a variety of deft clips and cuts, along with powerful strokes down the ground - put on 210 runs in just 150 balls. Strauss's hundred, his second in one-day internationals, came off 100 balls and contained 12 fours.

The England opener's century appeared pedestrian when compared to that of Collingwood, who decided to take the aerial route, and reached three figures off the 77th ball he faced. Both batsmen were helped by a lightning fast outfield, an excellent batting pitch and boundaries that had been brought in.

At times it was hard not to feel sympathy for the tourists. On three occasions Collingwood swept to leg and on each occasion the ball crept over the boundary for six. One-day cricket is a game designed for batsmen but cricket is at its best when bowlers and batsmen are given an even chance. Yet on this occasion it was not a contest as Collingwood and Strauss helped themselves.

Strauss used the second half of his innings as glorified practice, and when fine-leg was up he kept dinking the seamers over fine leg with a sweep.

On a pitch offering pace and bounce England's openers were initially watchful. But once the pair became accustomed to the conditions mayhem ensued. Trescothick started the carnage when he began walking down the pitch and heaving the Bangladeshi medium pacers over mid-wicket.

Strauss played a slightly more conventional innings, preferring to wait for the bad balls to come along. And the Middlesex opener did not have to wait long for inviting deliveries to arrive against a bowling attack that failed to show the discipline it had demonstrated during the remarkable victory over Australia on Saturday.

Strauss cut and pulled the seamers for four on each occasion they bowled short at him, but he did have two lucky escapes before he reached 50. Australia will be looking for flaws in the left-hander's technique before the Ashes and they may have found one outside his off stump.

When Strauss drives at length balls in this area he occasionally edges it towards fourth or fifth slip, and it was while fielding in this area that Shahriar Nafees grassed hard chances when he was on 21 and 28. The fact that Trescothick edged a delivery from Nazmul Hossain through first slip would not have gone unnoticed either, but in one-day cricket fielders are quickly removed from these positions.

Following this piece of good fortune Trescothick cut loose, and Tapash Baisya was the bowler to suffer. The Somerset opener violently struck the first ball of the medium-pacer's fifth over back past him for four, before clipping the next delivery over deep square leg for six. Three more boundaries followed in an over that conceded 23 runs.

Trescothick looked set for his fourth hundred in as many innings against Bangladesh, but he then began slogging wildly. The left-arm spin of Mohammad Rafique was struck for two further boundaries but the 29-year-old's luck ran out in the 17th over when he top-edged a heave at Nazmul and was caught at cover.

The one disappointment for England was that Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff failed to take their chances. The England captain chopped on to his stumps without scoring and Flintoff carelessly chipped a simple catch to long-off.

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