India v England, 3rd Test, Mumbai, 1st day March 18, 2006

Strauss stands up

Going into a must-win game, England desperately needed someone to raise his game and Andrew Strauss put his hand up

Going into a must-win game, an already depleted England were further weakened with Steve Harmison suffering a shin strain and Alastair Cook succumbing to a stomach bug. They desperately needed someone to raise his game and Andrew Strauss put his hand up.

He had got starts at Nagpur and Mohali but fell to unwarranted wafts outside the off stump. Today he shelved the wide cut and the expansive drive early in the innings. He made use of the full length and straight line from the bowlers, as they searched for swing, to drive down the ground and through midwicket. Curbing his instincts, Strauss left several wide deliveries from Sreesanth and Irfan Pathan outside off stump. In fact, just 4 of his first 28 runs came in his favoured region between third man and cover.

Hovever, after settling down, he cashed in on some terribly wayward bowling and creamed Irfan Pathan for 39 runs off 48 balls and Harbhajan Singh for 32 off 38 . The following graphic shows that after the initial period, Strauss unleashed his repertoire of strokes and peppered the midwicket and coverpoint fence.

Pathan bowled just 11 overs of which 33 balls were too wide and 14 were too straight, not the effort Rahul Dravid would have wanted after asking England to bat. Sreesanth also bowled 43 balls in his 17 overs either too straight or wide.

George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo