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Strauss hoping to mark milestone

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England skipper Andrew Strauss will be aiming to emulate Graeme Smith as he follows his opposite number in reaching 100 Tests today.

South Africa skipper Smith struck a century in the opening encounter of the Investec Test series at the Kia Oval - which represented his 100th appearance in the longest form - to help his side take a 1-0 lead in the process.

The Proteas remain ahead with the third and final clash set to decide who will sit at the summit of the world rankings; England need a win to secure a series draw and ensure they remain top.

Strauss will follow Smith, who is set to surpass Allan Border’s mark of 93 games as a Test captain, to the best of centuries - and will doubtless hope to celebrate in similar style to a counterpart he respects greatly.

Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith marked his 100th Test appearance with a century and his opposite number Andrew Strauss will want to do likewise

Strauss said: “You have to have huge respect for the fact that he (Smith) has been able to captain South Africa for that length of time.

“There is a huge onus on anyone (in Test cricket) but the fact that he’s done it and played so well and scored so many runs is a great credit to him.

“I don’t know what he’s like as a captain because I’ve never played under him, but he is one of the keenest competitors you will face and is obviously very proud of representing his country. You can’t argue with what he’s done.”

It is similar longevity that will give Strauss the most pride when he reaches his aforementioned feat.

“I’m proud of the longevity factor,” he said. “I’ve been lucky enough to play for England in one of its best eras ever.

“I’ve had some incredible highlights in and amongst those hundred Test matches and there have been some tough times as you might expect I suppose.

“I’m still passionate and excited about representing my country so it is a lovely milestone to achieve.”

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