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Strauss ton guides England's charge

Published: Friday, July 17, 2009, 9:53 [IST]
 
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Strauss ton guides England's charge

London: English captain Andrew Strauss hit a brilliant century but Aussies fought back towards the end of opening day of the second test at Lords.

Strauss finished the day with 161 to his name at Lord's having shared an opening stand worth 196 with Alastair Cook, who made 95.

However Aussies rallied in the third and final session, four wickets leaving England on 364-6 at the close, a similar total to the one they had at the end of the opening day of the first Test.

Just as they will have done in Cardiff eight days ago, England will lament those late losses having had the chance to cash in of having first chance to bat on a flat wicket.

After helping England survive by the skin of their teeth in Cardiff, Monty Panesar was dropped in favour of the extra seamer in Graham Onions, who was given the nod ahead of Steve Harmison.

England's openers maintained the momentum gained from that great escape with the best first-wicket partnership against Australia in 18 years.

Strauss led the way with his 18th Test hundred, reaching three figures just before tea. It was his fourth ton against Australia and third on his home ground.

For much of the day Australia struggled with the ball, Mitchell Johnson coming in for the worst treatment with his 19 overs costing 107, although he did pick up two wickets, while the tourists were also unusually careless in the field.

Their cause was not helped by the loss of Nathan Hauritz, as he was forced off immediately after dropping a caught-and-bowled chance off Strauss.

Ashes-2009-Fixture

TV replays showed the spinner had suffered a dislocated finger when shelling the opportunity, leaving skipper Ricky Ponting minus one of his more steady performers in an attack that was about as accurate as a scattergun.

Johnson finally got the breakthrough with a rare straight ball that seemed to beat Cook for pace and trap him in front just five short of a deserved hundred.

But while Strauss continued to go along his merry way no other batsman managed to stick around long enough to offer him much support.

Ravi Bopara eased his way to 18 from just 19 deliveries - including four boundaries - before Ben Hilfenhaus removed him lbw to make it 222-2.

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