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Strauss hits century as England take charge

  • Story Highlights
  • Andrew Strauss hits a century as England take control of third Test in Antigua
  • Tourists were 301 for three at the close looking to avenge Jamaican Test loss
  • West Indies captain Chris Gayle had put England into bat on uncertain pitch
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(CNN) -- Captain Andrew Strauss hit his 15th Test hundred as England took control of the hastily-arranged third cricket Test in Antigua on Sunday.

England captain Strauss celebrates his century as the tourists took early control of the third Test in Antigua.

England captain Strauss celebrates his century as the tourists took early control of the third Test in Antigua.

England went into the second day on 301 for three after producing the ideal response to being skittled for 51 in the first Test at Sabina Park.

Strauss struck 169 while Alastair Cook and Owais Shah also contributed half-centuries as the tourists put the disruption of the last couple of days, and more importantly the first Test thrashing, behind them.

"We've had a couple of hard weeks, there's no doubt about that," Strauss told PA Sport. "Having been bowled out for 51 in the last Test match, the one thing we wanted to do was come out, play positively, and prove to everyone that as a batting unit we have some good players who can score big runs.

"In that respect it is very satisfying and as captain it was important to score runs and lead from the front.

"I've felt in pretty good form all tour, so I knew if I backed my game plan the runs would come. Thankfully they have.

"There are two ways to react to what happened last week. One is to go into your shell and hope you might get runs, and the other is to take the bull by the horns and say, 'Actually I am going to get runs'.

"That was the find of mindset I was in. And as a team we were positive but in a controlled kind of way, which was the right way to be."

West Indies captain Chris Gayle made some unusual decisions through the opening 92 overs of the contest, having won the toss, rotating seven bowlers after struggling for an initial breakthrough.

A wicketless morning session reduced to 18 overs by rain proved crucial in setting the tone.

"Possibly they felt the wicket was going to do a lot more than it did, so when they realised it wasn't going to do that much that knocked the stuffing out of them a little bit," Strauss added.

The pitch was hastily prepared in the aftermath of Friday's second Test debacle across the island -- and true to form batsman dominated at a ground where Brian Lara hit his unbeaten 400 against England.

England certainly made the most of being put into bat at the Antigua Recreation Ground, reaching the tea interval on 206 for one.

A vicious pulled four off Daren Powell put left-hander Strauss on the verge of three figures and when he punched a full toss into the gap on the leg-side for two off the very next ball, he immediately let out a roar of delight -- before saluting the thousands of travelling fans.

West Indies' first success came when Alastair Cook edged low to slip attempting to force off the back foot against Gayle's off-spin for 52.

Shah's first innings at this level for almost two years was brought to its conclusion on 57 by a moment of madness, which saw him attempt to steal a single from a defensive block.

Strauss succumbed late in the day when, with shadows lengthening around the ground, a weary pull at the second new ball offered a simple return catch for Fidel Edwards.

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