Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Strauss Blows Away Windies; Captain Positive as Opponents Adopt Negative Tactics

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Strauss Blows Away Windies; Captain Positive as Opponents Adopt Negative Tactics

Article excerpt

Byline: RICHARD GIBSON

SKIPPER Andrew Strauss struck his 17th Test hundred at Queen's Park Oval to enhance England's hopes of levelling the series against West Indies, writes RICHARD GIBSON.

Strauss oversaw an opening day grind to 258-2 on a slow pitch against some negative tactics from West Indies, who fielded just three frontline bowlers and added an extra batsman to avoid defeat.

He finished unbeaten on 139, his third century in as many Tests, a sequence which emulated Ian Bell's feat against Pakistan during the summer of 2006.

This latest landmark arrived after four hours 20 minutes at the crease and during an ongoing 102-run stand with Durham's Paul Collingwood, as the tourists toddled along at a sedate pace on a sluggish surface.

Both men provided scoring bursts to boost an otherwise sagging run rate, particularly Collingwood in the first half of his unbeaten half-century, which came from 108 balls shortly before the close.

They lost Kevin Pietersen on the stroke of tea in a drama-filled middle session which also saw Owais Shah retire hurt with severe cramp in his hands.

He departed unbeaten on 29, in a score of 133-1, and the change over livened the previously monotonous proceedings.

Pietersen, playing in his 50th Test, perished for just 10, bowled through the gate by left-arm spinner Ryan Hinds.

But Strauss, who entered the final session on 95 and survived a West Indian umpire review challenge for a lbw shout made by Daren Powell, ploughed on past the 500-run mark for the series.

His willingness to improvise against the spinners and a clinical response to bad balls helped boost an otherwise under-par scoring rate after winning the toss and choosing to extend England's sequence of batting first.

It was made into a turgid affair by West Indies' contentment on playing for a draw which would secure their first Test series win for five years.

To emphasise their conservatism, leftarmer Nash, who entered the contest with one Test wicket, was on as early as the 20th over with a ring field, with wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin up to the stumps. …

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