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Strauss waltzes to century

England captain Andrew Strauss provided the perfect answer to his critics with an assured century against the West Indies at Lords. A series of failures with the bat had led some in the media to speculate whether the captain merited a place in the side. Strauss, one of England’s most popular leaders, put those doubts to rest.

Before the Test started, Strauss had told the press that it was not a simple matter to go out and knock up a hundred. The first 80 or so of the captain’s runs flowed steadily, but once the century loomed within reach, the tension began to show.

"The last 15 runs or so it was quite hard work mentally because I hadn't been there for a while," Strauss said. "Obviously not having scored a hundred for a while, there was a bit of pressure. So it was a great feeling of relief to finally get over the line and it was a really special moment."

Strauss, normally one of sport’s more reticent personalities, celebrated exuberantly. Batting partner Kevin Pietersen enfolded his captain in a mighty bear-hug and the Lord’s crowd rose for an extended standing ovation. It was Strauss’s 20th Test century, a quarter of them scored at the London ground.

Typically, Strauss resisted the temptation to see the century as a riposte to his critics. "I don't like the sound of vindication," he said. "That's not the way I look at the game."

The century put England in a commanding position going into the third day of the Test, having overhauled West Indies’ first innings total, with the captain still at the crease.

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