Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Strauss in Good Nick as Clock Starts to Tick

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Strauss in Good Nick as Clock Starts to Tick

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID LLOYD Cricket Correspondent

ANDREW STRAUSS is suddenly batting like there's no tomorrow. But his careful approach as captain could rebound on England in Barbados, just as it did in Antigua a week ago.

Strauss's men ran out of time in the Third Test with West Indies nine wickets down after the new skipper had delayed his declaration until the lead reached 500. And, despite scoring another exhilarating century yesterday, Strauss must fear that his team will run out of options in the penultimate match of a series they are losing 1-0.

Choosing not to pick Steve Harmison was controversial, given that for all the fast bowler's shortcomings on the reliability front he has the weaponry -- pace and bounce -- to win matches.

But the policy of playing six batsmen, rather than five bowlers, is unlikely to be far from Strauss's thoughts at Kensington Oval today as he watches England trying to build on his brilliant innings of 142 which yesterday led the visitors to 301 for three.

Without all-rounder Andrew Flintoff -- who seems certain to also miss next week's Fifth Test in favour of returning home to continue his recovery from a hip injury -- Strauss was always struggling to balance the team.

But the way he played on another Caribbean pitch favouring batsmen suggests that England could have bitten the bullet and opted to strengthen their attack by selecting a second spinner in either Monty Panesar or even budding young all-rounder Adil Rashid. Only victory at Kensington Oval will give them the chance to win the series 2-1.

Whatever the outcome, though, Strauss has emphatically answered the question about whether the cares of captaincy would be good or bad for his batting. The Middlesex left-hander's 169 in Antigua was a wonderful effort, full of twinkling footwork and sparkling strokes. But this knock in Barbados topped even that, at least in terms of entertainment. …

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