Strauss hits the ground running
England captain Andrew Strauss made a perfect start to his preparation for the first npower Test against Sri Lanka at Cardiff a week on Thursday by scoring 151 in the opening match of their tour against Middlesex at Uxbridge.
Strauss, playing his maiden first-class match since the final Test against Australia at Sydney in January and his first game of any kind since the World Cup quarter-final against Sri Lanka at Colombo in March, batted for 272 minutes, faced 223 balls and hit 25 fours.
Dan Housego, who made only the second century of his career, joined Strauss in a partnership of 214 - a record for Middlesex's second wicket against any touring team - as the hosts closed the opening day on 321 for five.
The Sri Lankans were missing Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Dilhara Fernando, Thisara Perera and Suraj Randiv, who are all playing in the Indian Premier League but will arrive in time for the second warm-up match against England Lions at Derby starting next Thursday.
Tillakaratne Dilshan, the new captain who only arrived yesterday, still had nine Test players at his disposal. But with only Fernando to strengthen it, his attack still looked decidedly weak against a Middlesex side containing seven players making their first first-class appearances of the season.
Strauss showed the benefit of his rest since the World Cup from the moment he cut and pulled Chanaka Welegedara for his first two boundaries.
There were many more of those trademark shots, as well as some meaty off-drives, as he reached his hundred fom 161 balls and he was in sight of his highest score - 177 against New Zealand at Napier in 2007-08 - when he pulled Suranga Lakmal to deep square-leg.
Strauss had lost opening partner Sam Robson for 18 when he was caught by wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene, swooping low to his right, off Farveez Maharoof.
Housego, a 22-year-old batsman whose only previous century came against Oxford University, looked assured from the start.
He reached his hundred from 148 balls with 12 fours but then got a top edge trying to sweep Rangana Herath, the left-arm spinner, to be caught for 104 by Tharanga Paranavithana at short fine-leg.
Adam Rossington, playing only his second first-class match, was bowled by Herath for nought.
Jamie Dalrymple, making his first appearance since rejoining Middlesex from Glamorgan, fell leg before to Ajantha Mendis for 13 but Dawid Malan and John Simpson denied the Sri Lankans any further success as they finished on 19 and eight respectively.