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July 17, 2009

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Strauss slams century as England reigns at Lord's

ANDREW Strauss registered his 18th test century and steered England to 255 for two at tea on the first day of the second Ashes test at Lord's yesterday, as Australia captured two wickets in the session.

Strauss was 100 not out at the break, having faced 178 deliveries, with Kevin Pietersen on 22. Strauss combined in an opening partnership of 196 with Alastair Cook (95) before Australia's much-needed strikes.

The bowlers struggled with their accuracy and though left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson removed Cook, he had figures of one for 77 from 11 overs at tea.

Australia also lost their leading spin bowler Nathan Hauritz to a dislocated finger.

Strauss, who had taken 21 deliveries to score his first run after lunch, was dropped on 48 by Brad Haddin off a Ben Hilfenhaus no-ball and reached his 50 the same over.

When Cook brought up the team's 150 in the 38th over, his score was then 85 with 72 of those runs made up of 18 boundaries to emphasize Australia's lack of control.

Australia's situation worsened when Strauss drove powerfully back at offspinner Nathan Hauritz, who dropped the catching chance and dislocated his middle finger on his right (spinning) hand at the same time. Marcus North completed the over as Hauritz received treatment.

However, his 10th over brought a much-needed breakthrough when he trapped Cook LBW on the back foot with a ball just short of a length. Cook, denied a 10th test century, faced 147 balls and plundered 18 fours.

Cook's Essex county colleague Ravi Bopara scored two confident boundaries immediately off Johnson to settle his nerves, but his cameo of 18 from 19 balls ended when he was LBW to a Hilfenhaus ball angled into him.


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