England captain Andrew Strauss put the disastrous first Test behind him as he struck 169 to lead England to an impressive 301 for three at stumps on the first day of the third Test.
Strauss was ably assisted by Alastair Cook (52) and Owais Shah (57) as England bounced back from their mauling in Kingston to put themselves in a strong position at the Antigua Recreation Ground. West Indies won the first Test of the series in Jamaica by an innings after bowling England out for 51 in second innings.
After all the problems with the ground in Antigua, resulting in the second Test being abandoned, that defeat felt a long time ago but no doubt the batting collapse remained in the minds of the upper order.
It took just one and a half sessions for England to show that they are a much better side than the one that surrendered so meekly at Sabina Park. “We’ve had a hard couple of weeks. After being bowled out 51 in the last Test you want to come out and play positively and prove to everyone that as a batting unit we have a lot of good players. “In that respect it’s very satisfying,” he said.
After batting all day, with 24 fours and a big six to bring up England’s hundred, Strauss looked well set to continue his innings into the second day but a tired attempted pull shot near the close resulted in a simple caught and bowled for Fidel Edwards.
SCOREBOARD England 1st inn (Strauss c & b Edwards 169, Cook c Smith b Gayle 52, Shah run out 57, Pietersen not out 8, Anderson not out 3; Extras-b 6, w 1, nb 5-12); Total (for 3 wkts in 92 ovrs) 301; FoW: 1-123, 2-276, 3-295; Bowling: Taylor 15-3-37-0, Edwards 15-2-41-1, Powell 11-2-40-0, Gayle 12-1-35-1, Benn 17-2-62-0, Hinds 15-59-0, Nash 7-2-21-0. Reuters