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Day of delight for Strauss

Posted in England

Andrew Strauss

Andrew Strauss soaks up the applause after reaching three figures at Lord's today

There will be contrasting opinions regarding the amount of pressure Andrew Strauss was under heading into this week’s first Investec Test.

England’s captain in the premier form of the game has certainly not enjoyed his best run of form in recent times; his last three-figure score prior to today came at Brisbane in November 2010.

Yet while certain sections of the media have made much of Strauss’ lean spell, the view from within the England camp has been altogether different.

The left-hander has always retained the full support of his fellow players and team director Andy Flower and, indeed, several of his colleagues have expressed surprise at the level of scrutiny their leader has faced.

It is, perhaps, for this reason more than any other that Strauss himself has been able to remain relatively relaxed in the face of increased questioning.

However, in silencing those who had directed criticism his way by striking a masterful unbeaten 121 on day two at Lord’s, he has clearly removed a significant weight from his mind - that much was evident in his passionate celebration upon bringing up his hundred.

“The last 15 runs or so were quite hard work mentally, because I hadn’t been there for a while,” Strauss conceded in his post-match press conference.

“It was a great feeling of relief to finally get those three figures. It was a really special moment - a great ovation, and one of the more special hundreds I’ve scored, definitely.

“That’s what I’m employed to do, to get runs for the team, and my output hasn’t been quite as high as I would have liked over the last 12 months or so.”

As well as providing personal satisfaction, the skipper’s hundred will undoubtedly offer a lift to others, such is the close-knit nature of the England squad.

A jubilant Kevin Pietersen was in danger of cracking more than one of Strauss’ ribs when he embraced his team-mate seconds after he had cut Darren Sammy for four to pass 100.

Similar joy could be witnessed on the home team’s balcony, where the remainder of the England set-up hailed one of the sweeter moments in Strauss’ distinguished 95-Test career.

“Whatever the media pressure might be is of no real consequence to us in the side, and never has been,” Strauss explained.

“We all stick together and when one guy is under the pump we all enjoy it when he comes through.”

The reaction of the Lord’s crowd - who stood to acclaim Strauss for a lengthy period before play was able to resume - showed that England’s players were by no means the only ones to take delight from today’s stand-out moment.

Captain Strauss is back in the runs - and don’t we all just love it?

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