Strauss strikes century before India hit back

Andrew Strauss made light of his lack of match practice to take England to a competitive position on the opening day of the first Test against India. Strauss has played hardly any meaningful cricket since September but it did not prevent the opener from striking a 13th Test hundred.

Strauss provided England with just the innings they required, scoring a defiant 123 before playing a tired shot and losing his wicket. The dismissal of Strauss, along with three other batsmen in the final session, took some gloss off England’s day but Kevin Pietersen’s side proved to be far more competitive than many expected.



By the close England had reached 229-5 with Andrew Flintoff not out on 18. The tourists will need significant input from Flintoff, Matthew Prior and Graeme Swann, on debut, if they are to maintain a healthy position.



Strauss is not a pretty batsman to watch, nor is he blessed with an endless array of elegant strokes, but he makes up for these shortcomings by being mentally tougher than most, if not all, of his team-mates. Since being dropped from England’s tour of Sri Lanka a year ago his place in the team has been the topic of much discussion and the 31 year-old would have known that he needed to perform on this tour if he was to show his doubters that he still has plenty to offer.



Strauss’ innings began slowly but gathered momentum after the lunch interval. In keeping, he was particularly strong square of the wicket, scoring the bulk of his runs via the sweep or cut shot. He reached three figures by running Ishant Sharma to a vacant third man and the joy of reaching the landmark was plain for everyone to see.



On winning the toss Kevin Pietersen wasted little time in telling his opposite number, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, that England would bat. With a cloudless sky above and a hot, humid sun beating down it was a simple decision. In memory of those killed a fortnight ago in the Mumbai terrorist attacks both teams stood in silence for two minutes. The moment would have been more poignant had the sparse crowd been told what was taking place.



Strauss and Alastair Cook then proceeded to prove that Pietersen had taken the correct option, watchfully seeing off the new ball before collecting runs against India’s spinners. The cricket was far from scintillating but it did not bother an unprepared England side that had been given little chance in the build up to the Test.



India’s lack of incision was highlighted by their constant attempts to change the ball, a battle with the umpires that was finally won after 17 overs with England on 39 without loss. The change made little difference to Strauss and Cook who continued to grind India’s attack down.



Only 63 runs were scored in the opening session but England’s openers came out with positive intent after the interval taking the game to their opponents. Boundaries came at regular intervals as both Strauss and Cook passed 50. Cook’s joy ended on 52 when he attempted to slog Harbhajan Singh over the leg side. The resultant top edge dropped safely in to the hands of Zaheer Khan at wide mid on.



Ian Bell showed his intent by advancing down the pitch and driving Harbhajan beautifully down the ground for four, but it proved to be the only boundary in his 70-minute stay. Bell survived until tea but fell two balls after the break when Zaheer trapped him lbw.



Pietersen could have followed Bell before he had scored, when Yuvraj Singh beat his defensive push and struck him on the back leg. Replays suggested the ball would have gone on to hit leg stump but on this occasion the England captain was given the benefit of the doubt.



Pietersen never looked comfortable and failed to make the most of the let-off, succumbing to a Zaheer bouncer when on four. Zaheer deserved his reward for a beautiful spell of aggressive reverse-swing bowling.



Paul Collingwood was equally scratchy although he was unfortunate to be given out caught. All India’s close fielders appealed as the ball lobbed to short leg but replays revealed that he had missed the ball and it had only made contact with pad on the way to Gautam Gambhir’s hands.



Strauss’ vigil ended 30 minutes before the close of play when he drove a low catch back to Amit Mishra. His disappointment was visible but when he sits down to reflect on what he has achieved this innings should provide him with a huge amount of satisfaction.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game