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Page last updated at 19:16 GMT, Thursday, 16 July 2009 20:16 UK

Strauss defends England batsmen

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This hundred is special - Strauss

Andrew Strauss defended England's batsmen after the hosts lost four wickets in the final session on day one of the second Test against Australia.

Strauss was unbeaten on 161 but a late flurry of wickets left England on 364-6 and reinvigorated Australia's resolve.

But the England captain said: "The guys generally got pretty good balls.

"From 196-0 to six down is a little disappointing, but if you can get to 450-odd tomorrow then you are always in a good position in the game."

Strauss shared a superb first-wicket stand with Alastair Cook, surpassing England's previous opening partnership best against Australia at Lord's, set 83 years previously by Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe.

Cook fell five runs short of a deserved century but Strauss continued to cut, pull and drive his way to his 18th Test century, finishing 16 runs short of his best score for England.

"You always get value for your shots at Lord's," Strauss told BBC Radio 5 Live. "I feel in good rhythm in my batting.

"When you are in good rhythm, you don't put yourself under too much pressure.

We were looking down the barrel of a very long day, so it could have been a lot worse

Australia's Brad Haddin

"If we can get 450 we're in the game - if you can get to 500, you control the game.

"We lost four wickets in that final session, it put a little more responsibility on my shoulders to be there at the end. Thankfully I was able to do that.

"I'll try to have a good night's sleep and hopefully get some more runs tomorrow."

After an indifferent first-session display, Australia's bowlers began to swing the older ball in the final session in overcast, humid conditions.

However, Strauss believes the movement will encourage England's seam quartet just as much as Australia's quicks.

"There was certainly more in this wicket than there was in Cardiff, when the ball started swinging it made batting quite difficult," he said.

"But there are wicket-taking balls out there, in between scoring opportunities. It's a good cricket wicket.

"Hopefully we can get the ball swinging. That's going to be crucial for us - hopefully we can get some good overhead conditions and shape the ball around."

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Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin admitted he and some of his team-mates had been overawed by playing their first Test match at Lord's.

The tourists conceded 53 boundaries as England's top order capitalised on a stream of wayward deliveries.

"We maybe searched a bit too much too early, the occasion at Lord's maybe got to us," he said.

"We were looking down the barrel of a very long day, so it could have been a lot worse.

"Once we relaxed things started going our way. I was probably a bit tense, the occasion got to me. But things started to fall into place later.

Haddin admits nerves were a factor

"To finish with six wickets down is pretty pleasing considering the position we were in. If we bowl well tomorrow and get some momentum into our batting, anything can happen."

Australia will monitor the progress of Nathan Hauritz, who dislocated the middle finger of his right hand attempting to take a return catch off Strauss.

The off-spinner returned to the field of play after treatment, but his participation in the rest of the match remains in doubt.

"It was good to see him back out in the field," added Haddin.

"We'll see how he pulls up tomorrow, whether we can get him out to bowl in the nets."



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see also
Strauss century defies Australia
16 Jul 09 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
16 Jul 09 |  Cricket
England v Australia day one photos
16 Jul 09 |  Cricket
Flintoff quits Tests after Ashes
15 Jul 09 |  Cricket
Escape will spur us on - Strauss
12 Jul 09 |  England
Defiant England cling on for draw
12 Jul 09 |  England
Ashes memories: Lord's
14 Jul 09 |  Cricket
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England


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