Ton-up Strauss Delighted
Captain Andrew Strauss is glad to be leading England from the front again after scoring his second century of the series against the West Indies.
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Strauss' lack of major scores became a major talking point over the winter and he had gone 25 innings - or almost 18 months - without a hundred until he ended his drought at Lord's last week.
He followed that up with 102 not out on day two of the second Test at Trent Bridge as England racked up 259 for two in reply to the tourists' 370 all out.
The century was Strauss' 21st for England, taking him within one of the English record - which is held jointly by Geoffrey Boycott, Colin Cowdrey and Wally Hammond.
Reflecting on his change in fortunes, Strauss said: "It's nice to feel back in form and as a captain it's great to contribute and lead from the front.
"I suppose to a degree it's confidence but it's a strange game - sometimes batting feels difficult and at other times, with a few runs under your belt, it's easier.
"I'm just delighted to be in a bit of form and very determined to make the most of it, not just tomorrow but over the rest of the series as well.
"You can never look too far ahead but I'm just going to try and focus on getting myself back in in the morning. That's a big enough challenge for me."
The challenge Strauss was referring to relates to a curious record when resuming unbeaten on a hundred at the start of play.
The most he has ever added in those circumstances is six runs, and he managed only one in the first Test.
"It's very frustrating; scoring a hundred takes a bit out of you physically so it is a bit tricky the next morning but there's no reason why you can't kick on and get a big score," he said.
"It's a mindset thing the next day, to try and reconnect with what you did the night before rather than worrying too much."
Asked if he planned doing anything different this time to break the sequence, Strauss light-heartedly offered: "I've never got blindly drunk the night before so maybe that's an option."
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy had a mixed day. He began by bringing up his maiden Test century having finished 88 not out on day one but then saw the rest of the innings fold before England's batsmen took control.
"It was good to get a Test hundred, a really good feeling, but from a team point of view we didn't bat as we were supposed to this morning," he said.
"The plan was for Marlon Samuels and myself to see out the first hour and get a big score of over 450. We gave our wickets away in the end.
"Then we bowled too many four balls on both sides of the wicket to England and by the end they were scoring quite freely."
Both Strauss and Sammy started the series answering questions about their futures and the fact that each man enjoyed the limelight today was not lost on the St Lucian.
"We were both under a lot of criticism," he added. "I know the things that were being said about him in the press and I've been going through that for eternity.
"It's always good to perform under pressure; it was a good feeling for me and I know Andrew feels the same."