Magnificent Strauss cuts out England middle men

HERO captain Andrew Strauss insisted his England side were still in the hunt for a match-winning total despite missing out on an opportunity to put the Australians to the sword at Lord&rsquo;s.<br /><br />The Middlesex opener smashed 22 fours in a magnificent 161no as England ended a rollercoaster opening day of the second Test on 364-6.<br /><br />But it could have been so much better for the hosts with Strauss putting on a record-breaking opening stand of 196 with fellow left-hander Alastair Cook, who fell just five runs short of a deserved century.<br /><br />As it was, England were left to rue a series of poor decision-making from the top order as they slumped from 222-1 to the brink of collapse.<br /><br />But Strauss, who topped 5,000 Test runs in the penultimate over of his full day at the crease, insisted there is plenty more batting left in the tail to post a respectable total.<br /><br />&ldquo;It was a little bit frustrating that we couldn&rsquo;t get one more big partnership,&rdquo; the captain said afterwards. &ldquo;That would have taken us to three or four down at the end, and that would have been a good day. From 196 for none I suppose we&rsquo;d like to be in a better position than we are right now, but we have 360 plus on the board and that&rsquo;s not a bad place to be.<br /><br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;re still there and we still have batters in Broaders Stuart Broad and Swanny Graeme Swann who are in good form, so there is no reason why we can&rsquo;t go on and push 450. We&rsquo;ve got to look at 450. Whenever you&rsquo;ve got that you&rsquo;re in decent shape.&rdquo;<br /><br />This was Strauss&rsquo; 18th Test century and fourth against Australia, but with England chasing a first Ashes victory at Lord&rsquo;s for 75 years, there was surely none more satisfying.<br /><br />He and Cook powered through the Aussie seam attack in a blistering morning session, and smashed the record for an opening pair in an Ashes Test until Cook was deceived by the otherwise wayward Mitchell Johnson and caught lbw for a gallant 95.<br /><br />Ravi Bopara then fell the same way, to a Ben Hilfenhaus inswinger, for 18, sparking a middle order slump with four wickets falling for just 66 runs.<br /><br />Kevin Pietersen edged a Peter Siddle delivery behind just four overs after tea for 32, before first Test hero Paul Collingwood threw his wicket away, picking out mid-on attempting to slog Michael Clarke.<br /><br />Andrew Flintoff gave England a boost by passing a late fitness test, but he could only add four more before finding Australia captain Ricky Ponting at second slip from the bowling of Hilfenhaus.<br /><br />Strauss&rsquo; efforts ensured England passed 300 in a Lord&rsquo;s Ashes Test for the first time since 1975, but he must continue the fight with the tail today after Matt Prior (8) compounded a miserable day for the middle order.<br /><br /><strong>SCORECARD</strong> ENGLAND (1ST INNINGS)<br />A Strauss&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; not out&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 161<br />A Cook&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; lbw&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; b Johnson&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 95&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br />R Bopara&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; lbw&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; b Hilfenhaus&nbsp;&nbsp; 18<br />K Pietersen&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; c Haddin&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; b Siddle&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; 32<br />P Collingwood &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; c Siddle&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; b M Clarke&nbsp; 16<br />M Prior&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; b Johnson&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;8&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br />A Flintoff&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; c Ponting&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; b Hilfenhaus&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 4<br />S Broad&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; not out&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; 7<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br />&nbsp; Extras&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; (6nb 15b 2lb)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; 23<br /><br />&nbsp; <strong>TOTAL&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; (6 wkts, 90 overs)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 364</strong><br />&nbsp; Fall: 196, 222, 267, 302, 317, 333<br />&nbsp; Bowling: Hilfenhaus 25-10-77-2, Johnson<br />&nbsp; 19-1-107-2, Siddle 17-1-66-1, Hauritz 8.3-1-26-0<br />&nbsp; North 16.3-2-59-0, M Clarke 4-0-12-1&nbsp;