Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Strauss Ton Gives England Control

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Strauss Ton Gives England Control

Article excerpt

CAPTAIN Andrew Strauss struck his 16th Test hundred to charge England out of the blocks in their must-win fourth Test against West Indies.

Strauss and Alastair Cook shared England's first double century opening stand for more than four years, in fact, to make good of winning the toss at Kensington Oval.

But once their stand of 229 came to its conclusion minutes after tea - the highest since Strauss and Marcus Trescothick turned the momentum of a match against South Africa in Durban in December 2004 - the runs dried up.

England totally dominated the first two sessions only to be pegged back by a loss of wickets in a turgid evening period, and closed on 301 for three.

Strauss was dismissed for 142 in spectacular manner by fast bowler Daren Powell to provide a breakthrough in the 65th over of a bat-dominated opening day. A full delivery demolished Strauss' stumps to provide Powell with some joy after much suffering.

Opening partner Cook then perished five overs later, six short of a hundred, when he mishit a pull off Jerome Taylor which was clutched by a diving Ryan Hinds at midwicket.

It continued Cook's run of failing to register a Test century to 27 innings and, to add to the frustration, this was the 11th time he has got halfway there without converting.

The statistic clearly played on Cook's mind as he got closer to addressing it - he might have been caught at deep squareleg from a top-edged pull off Powell but for an unenthusiastic attempt in the deep from Sulieman Benn when on 85.

Having got down the other end with a single, however, he enjoyed another slice of fortune moments later when an edge off Taylor flew between wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin and slip Chris Gayle for four.

The jittery nature of Cook's innings was in contrast to Strauss, who followed his 169 in the drawn match in Antigua last week by celebrating his latest three-figure contribution before the halfway point of the opening day. …

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