WI under pressure after Strauss hundred
LONDON, England – West Indies snatched two wickets in the final session to stymie England’s momentum, but were still facing a tall order after Andrew Strauss’ 20th Test hundred put the hosts in control of the first Test on Friday here.
The Windies failed to gain the same help from the conditions that their opponents did the previous day and the England captain stroked an undefeated 121 to lead his side to 259 for three, replying to the visitors’ first innings total of 243, when bad light ended the second day at Lord’s two deliveries into the second new ball.
No West Indies bowler distinguished himself, as Strauss collected his first Test hundred in nearly two years and his fifth hundred at the “spiritual home” of the game, the prolific Jonathan Trott cashed in with 58, while Kevin Pietersen scored 32 and Alistair Cook made 26.
West Indies were offered some respite on what was a tough day in the field, when Trott and Pietersen fell, after England turned the screws on the Caribbean side at 167 for one at tea.
The Windies failed to keep the pressure on Strauss, under fire in the build-up to the Test over his lack of form, and the left-handed England opener took centre stage at the ground, where he plays domestically for Middlesex.
The West Indies fast bowling attack, comprising Fidel Edwards, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel and captain Darren Sammy, were ineffective and Strauss dominated, stroking 19 fours – mostly a volley of off-side strokes – from 249 balls.
West Indies failed to make an early breakthrough, as Strauss put on 47 for the first wicket with Cook, fashioned 147 for the second wicket with Trott – a stand that put the game firmly in England’s favour – before adding a further 50 with Pietersen for the third wicket late in the day.
Once the Windies innings was out of the way, England busily set about their task, with Strauss and Cook scoring freely, as the Windies bowlers found no swing, despite the murky conditions.
Scorching off-side drives off Edwards and Roach would have lifted Strauss’ confidence level early, as he tried to erase the memory of a wobbly winter, while Cook’s four boundaries were all off-side strokes.
West Indies’ only success in the morning session came when Cook was bowled, dragging a delivery from Roach onto his leg-stump on the stroke of the first hour, after facing 42 balls, as England reached 80 for one at lunch.
After the interval, West Indies endured a fruitless toil, as Strauss and Trott took command.
West Indies were unfortunate not to have Trott out twice after the interval, without adding to his 17.
In the second over after the break, their lbw appeal was turned down after the right-hander missed a fullish delivery from Sammy and was struck on the pads.
On review, replays showed the ball would have hit the stumps – but not enough of the leg-stump – and Trott remained.
Ten balls later in Sammy’s next over, Trott got a faint edge through to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin, but again the Windies had their appeal turned down.
While they chose not to review it this time, Hot Spot infra-red replays indicated Trott had indeed nicked the delivery.
West Indies continued to feel the pinch, as the 31-year-old Trott continued unfazed, stroking six fours off 134 balls, and adding to the tourists’ frustration.
A string of boundaries off Sammy carried Strauss to his 50. He gathered two fours in Sammy’s eighth over that cost 11 runs and another two from the same bowler to raise his landmark.
The luckless Sammy, who went passed the bat on a few occasions, finally found reason to celebrate, when Trott finally perished 55 minutes after tea, driving at one that swung late and was caught behind, leaving England 194 for two.
A cut off Sammy carried Strauss into the 90s, as the batsman continued to grow in confidence before driving his opposite number straight for another boundary to move to 95.
Fortune again deserted West Indies, when Strauss was dropped on the same score by Shivanrine Chanderpaul at slip off an Edwards no-ball, but he duly reached his milestone four overs later, when he slashed Sammy square for another boundary.
Just when it looked like Pietersen would also threaten, after he struck five fours off 51 balls in a typically free-scoring knock, he fell 20 minutes prior to the eventual close.
Earlier struck on the forearm by a short delivery from Roach, the England talisman went tamely, caught behind, top-edging a cut from the uncomplicated off-spin of Marlon Samuels.
Earlier, West Indies failed to add to their overnight score, as debutant Shannon Gabriel’s first Test innings lasted just one ball, when he edged the first delivery of the morning to Graeme Swann at second slip off Stuart Broad, giving the blonde-haired fast bowler career-best figures of seven for 72, leaving veteran West Indies left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul stranded on 87.
WEST INDIES 1st Innings
A. Barath c Anderson b Broad 42
K. Powell b Anderson 5
K. Edwards lbw b Anderson 1
D.M. Bravo run out (Bell/+Prior/Swann) 29
S Chanderpaul not out 87
M. Samuels c Bairstow b Broad 31
+D. Ramdin c Strauss b Broad 6
*D. Sammy c Bresnan b Broad 17
K. Roach c and b Broad 6
F. Edwards c wkpr Prior b Broad 2
S. Gabriel c Swann b Broad 0
Extras (b6, lb8, nb3) 17
TOTAL (all out) 243
Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Powell), 2-32 (K. Edwards), 3-86 (Barath), 4-100 (Bravo), 5-181 (Samuels), 6-187 (Ramdin), 7-219 (Sammy), 8-231 (Roach), 9-243 (F. Edwards)
Bowling: Anderson 25-8-59-2; Broad 24.5-6-72-7 (nb3); Bresnan 20-7-39-0; Swann 18-6-52-0; Trott 2-0-7-0
ENGLAND 1st Innings
A. Strauss not out 121
A. Cook b Roach 26
J. Trott c wkpr Ramdin b *Sammy 58
K. Pietersen c wkpr Ramdin b Samuels 32
I. Bell not out 5
Extras (b9, lb1, nb7) 17
TOTAL (3 wkts) 259
J. Bairstow, +M. Prior, T. Bresnan, S. Broad, G. Swann, J. Anderson to bat
Fall of wickets: 1-47 (Cook), 2-194 (Trott), 3-244 (Pietersen)
Bowling: F. Edwards 17.2-0-52-0 (nb2); Roach 15-2-59-1 (nb4); Gabriel 14-1-38-0; Sammy 22-1-66-1 (nb1); Samuels 12-3-34-1
Position: England lead by 16 runs with seven first innings wickets standing
Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan), M. Erasmus (South Africa)
TV umpire: Asad Rauf (Pakistan)
Match referee: R. Mahanama (Sri Lanka)
Reserve umpire: T. Robinson (England)