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India v England 1st Test

TMS Close of Play - 1st Test, day one

Centurion Andrew Strauss said the distractions surrounding the first Test against India in Chennai had helped to ease the pressure on the England squad.

Security concerns dominated the build-up to the match following November's terror attacks in Mumbai.

And Strauss, who hit 123 as England ended the first day on 229-5, said: "It felt like there was less pressure.

"We're a bit more relaxed because we've had a pretty easy run-up, there hasn't been too much focus on the cricket."

Strauss, who put on 118 for the first wicket with Alastair Cook (52), was dismissed late in the day when he drove a catch back to Amit Mishra.

The 31-year-old admitted he was "frustrated" at having lost his wicket, especially as England had been in a powerful position at 164-1 at tea.

But in the final session, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood and finally Strauss were dismissed to leave Andrew Flintoff, unbeaten on 18 off 64 balls, and night-watchman James Anderson at the crease at the close.

"I'm a little bit disappointed, certainly from my own point of view, to get out at the end because I felt comfortable," Strauss told BBC Sport after a six-hour innings which featured 15 boundaries from 233 deliveries.

"You feel like you've got the opportunity to get a really big score if you can just concentrate and stick in there.

"We're going to have to work really hard to get up to around 400, which is probably the score you need on that wicket.

"The wicket was pretty slow, there was a bit of turn and a bit of bounce but I think it will deteriorate as we go on so if we can get up to 350-400 we're in the game.

"We've got some good batting to come. Matt Prior has proved himself on numerous occasions with the bat, especially out in the subcontinent, and Andrew Flintoff looked very good.

"There's no reason why we can't do it, but we've just got to show the right application and get through that first hour on day two."

India spinner Harbhajan Singh, who finished with 2-62 at the Chepauk Stadium, criticised England's slow run rate.


"We bowled really well and to restrict them to 229-5 was a really good effort," said Harbhajan.

"England were not really looking to dominate or looking to score runs, they were happy just collecting singles or twos.

"This was probably the best day to bat on this kind of wicket and if we had been batting we'd have got more than 300.

"They played very defensively because they could easily have scored 300, they didn't look to score runs which is good for us. England helped us by not playing their shots and blocking a lot of balls.

"I don't know whether they have respect for my bowling but they played very slowly.

"Normally this is the kind of wicket where people go after the bowling and even if you don't do that and just play your strokes you should still get 300 runs in a day on this wicket."

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see also
England falter after Strauss ton
11 Dec 08 |  England
TMS Close of Play - 1st Test, day one
11 Dec 08 |  Test Match Special
India v England day one photos
11 Dec 08 |  England
England in India 2008
01 Dec 08 |  Cricket

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