Vintage Strauss adds some sparkle to England

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Captain scores second century in successive Tests to put his team firmly in command and struggling West Indies attack is stretched to the limit

Trent Bridge

The temptation is to suggest that Andrew Strauss's Test hundreds are like buses. You hang around for ages, wondering if another one will ever come along, and then two arrive almost at once.

Throughout the long period when Strauss's steering and timetable were all over the place there was only one century in 50 innings. Now it is two in successive matches. The 21st of his Test career yesterday against West Indies was almost as inevitable as its immediate predecessor at Lord's a few days earlier had been overdue.

It was, more or less, vintage Strauss. There were few, if any, lapses in concentration of the sort which marked his long lean sequence. He played with the assurance and freedom of a batsman who knew the road ahead was clear once more, favouring the back foot but being partial enough to a front-foot cover drive.

He now stands alone in the ranks of England's Test centurions, one behind three men – Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey and Geoff Boycott – who have 22 centuries each. At this rate he will be in the lead by the end of the summer. This innings, which so far has spanned 205 balls and yielded 18 fours, took England to a position from which they should win the Second Test and with it the Investec Series.

They never broke the spirit of their opponents but in the final two sessions runs were being plundered rather too easily. England scored 136 at four an over in the last session, all of them by Strauss and Kevin Pietersen, who was in scintillating touch in fairly battering 72, in their unbroken third-wicket partnership.

It was noticeable that Pietersen's hug when Strauss reached his century was not as overwhelming as it had been at Lord's when smothering was briefly feared. There was not the suffocating relief of it all, presumably.

If England ought to go on to win the Test they have been detained by West Indies for longer than generally expected. This is jolly good for the game at large but the feeling is yet to be shaken that it is the difference between a stay of execution and a free pardon.

For the second match in succession the tourists have demonstrated a sense of unity and purpose, which has been crucially offset by a curious lack of discipline in key compartments of the game – both of them, as it happens, involving feet.

Their early batting was marred by a lack of foot movement which caused, indirectly, the downfall of three batsmen. The bowling yesterday of Kemar Roach, their most incisive performer, was almost totally undermined by his constant no balls.

He overstepped the crease eight times, twice depriving himself of the wicket of Alastair Cook. If he was fortunate that Cook obliged by edging behind for a third time, the damage was done. The bowling seemed to be weakened.

The partnership between West Indies' captain, Darren Sammy, and Marlon Samuels, the highest for the seventh wicket in any Test match in England, represented less a statistical landmark than a small step on the road to sunlit uplands.

But by the end of the second day, England had taken toll of an attack that was already stretched beyond its limits. The prospect of batting fourth on a pitch likely to display some uneven bounce is not exactly to be welcomed but the No 1 side in the world intend to ease that worry by building a significant first-innings lead.

The tourists added 66 to their overnight score, Sammy completing his first Test century to become the first West Indies captain to make one at Trent Bridge. That is a list including Garry Sobers, Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards.

He rode his luck on the second morning, as he had on the first afternoon, and the two successive boundaries which brought him to his glorious achievement came from shots which went through point when they were aimed in another direction altogether. No matter. Sammy not only played with joie de vivre but has already shown himself to be a cricketer of significant character, rising above the derision which has accompanied his tenure.

This innings will have bought him precious time in the way that Strauss's 122 at Lord's ensured the criticism abated. The tourists knew they could not afford to hang around yesterday morning. Despite the heroic endeavours of Sammy and Samuels, who had reached his third Test century on Friday night, they were still some distance short of a workable score on a flat pitch.

The seventh-wicket pair came out blazing. Apart from moving the board along at a decent clip it had the potential effect of getting right up England's pipe. England did well to keep their pipe unblocked.

In this regard, it was perhaps as well they broke through when they did. Tim Bresnan took three of the morning's four wickets in 19 balls. If his final figures flattered him a little after his struggles to find his line on the first day he also showed a determination that he is not about to give up his place to one of a multitude breathing down his neck. Bresnan has a strong neck.

Trent Bridge scoreboard

West Indies won toss

West Indies: First innings (overnight 304-6)


M N Samuels c Anderson b Bresnan 117/261/16/0

*D J G Sammy c Pietersen b Bresnan 106/156/17/1

K A J Roach c Strauss b Bresnan 7/18/1/0

S Shillingford st Prior b Swann 16/21/2/0

R Rampaul not out 6/7/1/0

Extras (b8 lb18 w1 nb1) 28

Total (109.2 overs) 370

Fall (cont): 7-340, 8-341, 9-360.

Bowling J M Anderson 30-12-73-2, S C J Broad 27-4-81-2, T T Bresnan 27-4-104-4, G P Swann 20.2-4-62-2, I J L Trott 5-0-24-0.

England: First innings


*A J Strauss not out 102/205/18/0

A N Cook c Ramdin b Rampaul 24/59/4/0

I J L Trott lbw b Rampaul 35/54/7/0

K P Pietersen not out 72/100/10/1

Extras (b9 lb5 w2 nb10) 26

Total (for 2, 68 overs) 259

Fall 1-43, 2-123.

To bat I R Bell, J M Bairstow, †M J Prior, T T Bresnan, S C J Broad, G P Swann, J M Anderson

Bowling K A J Roach 15-1-48-0, R Rampaul 18-4-42-2, D J G Sammy 15-0-69-0, S Shillingford 15-2-73-0, M N Samuels 5-1-13-0.

Umpires Aleem Dar (Pak) and Asad Rauf (Pak).

TV Umpire M Erasmus (SA).

Match referee R S Mahanama (SL).

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...