Strauss back in the century groove
Captain Andrew Strauss hit his second century in as many matches as England set the foundations for a considerable first-innings lead on day two of the second Investec Test against the West Indies.
Having registered his first hundred since November 2010 at Lord's last week, Strauss scored 102 not out at Trent Bridge - the 21st century of his Test career putting him within one of an England record held jointly by Geoffrey Boycott, Colin Cowdrey and Wally Hammond.
Kevin Pietersen provided the fireworks in an unbroken stand of 136, contributing a rapid 72no in a stumps score of 259 for two. That left England 111 short of the tourists' 370, a total they achieved in a morning session that saw Strauss' opposite number Darren Sammy complete his maiden Test ton.
But barring an unexpected collapse on Sunday morning, England will anticipate a score in excess of 500 as they press for a series-clinching win.
England would have been reasonably happy with their morning's work in the field, taking the remaining four West Indies wickets for 66 runs on what remained an essentially flat track. Tim Bresnan was top wicket taker with four for 104.
The five overs remaining before lunch would have been enough for Kemar Roach to dismiss Alastair Cook for one had he not been called for no-balling.
If that reprieve was galling for the Windies, it is hard to imagine how they felt when Roach served up an exact replica six overs into the afternoon session. Again he found Cook's edge, again wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin pouched the catch and again Aleem Dar chalked it off for over-stepping. Cook finally fell at the third time of asking, nicking Ravi Rampaul for 24.
Strauss, following a couple of plays and misses, eased Sammy through the covers to bring up England's 50 before he and Jonathan Trott opened their shoulders to add 59 runs in 10 overs before tea.
Trott's fun was cut short two balls into the evening session, Rampaul pinning him lbw for 35. England reacted to that setback by plundering 17 runs from a single Shane Shillingford over, Pietersen clubbing him for six down the ground and Strauss twice picking out the empty third-man area.
The second of those strokes brought Strauss' half-century, from 116 balls, while Pietersen survived a genuine lbw scare against Rampaul. Runs were coming freely by the close, with Pietersen's muscular hitting threatening to steal his captain's thunder in the closing stages, but Strauss' 18th four ensured him the ovation he deserved.