Notts dance to Strauss' tune
England captain Andrew Strauss will go into the first Investec Test with South Africa at the Kia Oval on Thursday brimming with confidence after scoring a magnificent, unbeaten 127 to lead a stirring Middlesex recovery against LV= County Championship Division One leaders Nottinghamshire at Uxbridge.
Chris Rogers joined him in a second-wicket partnership of 143 and Middlesex, who had started their second innings 231 runs behind, were eight ahead at 239 for two when rain ended play at tea for the second day in succession.
Questions were being asked about Strauss's form at the start of the season because he had averaged only 26 in five Tests versus Pakistan and Sri Lanka during the winter, but he answered those with two centuries and an average of 65 in three Tests against West Indies.
Now, in his first match for a month, he seems to be in the form of his life at the age of 35. He made an accomplished 50 in the first innings before he was bowled by a superb ball from Andre Adams, and there was no dislodging him today as he moved fluently to a century off 157 balls with 12 fours and a towering six driven over long-on off Samit Patel.
"I don't think I've seen him play better than that," said Rogers, his fellow left-hander, who is unlucky to have played only one Test for Australia. "He looked in full control and his balance was just about perfect.
"It's amazing that when you're in good form you can have a break and come back and play like that. Mentally he's in a very good place and hopefully he can take that into the South Africa series."
Middlesex had been bowled out for 98 in their first innings, but the pitch was easier when they went in again and Sam Robson had joined Strauss in an opening stand of 55 when he was caught behind off Andy Carter for 26.
Rogers then made 59 off 101 balls with eight fours before he was leg before to Harry Gurney, but the day belonged to Strauss who batted so fluently that he needed only 24 deliveries to move from 62 to 100.
It was his 20th century for Middlesex in 123 first-class matches - one fewer than he has made for England in 97 Tests.