Strauss savours sweetest of centuries
Andrew Strauss reflected on a “special” day after he ended his wait for a hundred and put England firmly in the driving seat in the first Investec Test at Lord’s.
In striking 121 not out against West Indies - his first three-figure score since the 2010-11 Ashes - Strauss got his summer off to the perfect start and put any doubts over his productivity at the top of the order firmly to bed.
England ended day two 16 ahead on 259 for three and appear perfectly placed to press on towards victory, yet, for today at least, the captain’s individual achievement will command the greater focus.
“It was obviously a great feeling to get the hundred,” Strauss said.
“It’s been a little while coming, I had to dig pretty deep and work pretty hard and thankfully it was meant to be today.
“I think you just feel as though you want to contribute to the team - that’s the most important thing.
“We have all been through tough times in our careers and if you come out of the other side you are better prepared next time you’re there.
“I am hoping I do not get into a similar situation again, but that is the reality of international sport. You are under the microscope and you need to perform day in and day out.”
Referring to the media attention that has accompanied his search for a century, the left-hander added with a smile: “If it comes to be a talking point, then until you get runs it will remain a talking point, that’s just the way it is. It’s quite enjoyable when you get that hundred and they go off looking for someone else!
“We all stick together and when one guy is under the pump we all enjoy it when he comes through. We’ve seen it with other players recently and it was nice that I was able to do it today.”
The performance is yet another display of mental strength from Strauss, who delivered the ultimate example in 2008.
Having been recalled against New Zealand after missing the previous series against Sri Lanka, the left-hander delivered a crucial 177 in Napier to re-establish his place in the side.
He believes that innings was more important than today's.
He said: “The Napier one, I was standing right on the edge of a precipice there. I needed to get runs that game; otherwise, it was P45 time.
“I did not think I was in that situation today. But it's always nice to get a bit of a monkey off your back.”
Strauss admitted he had to compose himself following the magnificent ovation he received upon reaching three figures.
“It was a very special ovation, it did go on and on, and it was slightly emotional. I had to take a couple of moments,” he said.
“Test centuries are always special, whenever you get one. It’s a great feeling tonight to know that I’ve got a few runs and we’re in a good position to go on and get a good lead in the game.”
Assessing England’s standing in the match heading into day three, Strauss concluded: “We are in a good position. We really want to go on and get a big first-innings score. The wicket is quite slow at the moment still and it’s good to bat on, so we’ve got to make use of that.”