Sat, Jul 24, 2004 - Page 19 News List

England rules over West Indies after getting 391 for two

AP , LONDON

Andrew Strauss and Robert Key lit up Lord's Thursday with dazzling centuries which lifted England to an utterly commanding first day total of 391 for two against the West Indies in the first cricket test.

Watched by Queen Elizabeth II, Strauss continued the strong form on his home ground in lashing his third straight international century at the famous venue.

The 27-year-old left-hander scorched 20 boundaries in 137 in five hours off 202 balls.

Right-hander Key, included only after Mark Butcher's car accident on Tuesday ruled him out, hit his maiden century in his ninth test.

The Kent man, dropped when 16, followed Strauss to three figures but was even more devastating in plundering an unbeaten 167. The 25-year-old struck 23 fours off 225 deliveries in 346 minutes.

The pair blazed their way to a magnificent second wicket partnership of 291, a record for England against the West Indies. They passed the previous mark of 266 between Tom Graveney and Peter Richardson at Nottingham in 1957.

The Strauss-Key stand was even more remarkable for the rate of scoring as they raced along at over five runs per over throughout. The pair shared 39 boundaries across the lush Lord's outfield in 4 1/2 hours.

The queen watched their partnership from inside the Lord's Pavilion. She met the players from both sides during tea interval.

The West Indies gained an early breakthrough when captain Brian Lara won the toss and sent England in.

Tino Best provided the strike as he claimed Marcus Trescothick for 16.

The pace ace dropped a return catch from Trescothick when he was 10 but made amends in his next over.

Best induced a loose pull and Trescothick only managed a miscue to square leg where Ramnaresh Sarwan held the catch over his head. The left-hander struck three fours off 21 balls in 27 minutes.

But, from the uncertainty of 29 for one, Strauss and Key delighted a near-capacity first day crowd of 27,000 with some enterprising batting.

Key survived an edged drive that Chris Gayle grassed at second slip at 66 for one.

England lunched satisfactorily placed at 91 for one and immediately set about continuing its domination in the second session, when it scored 142 runs in 27 overs.

Both Strauss and Key resumed in positive mood and blasted the inexperienced West Indies attack with some sizzling strokeplay.

Strauss, in his fourth test, brought up his second test century just before the tea break with a sweep off expensive off-spinner Omari Banks for his 15th boundary.

Vaughan contributed an unbeaten 36 off 65 balls before deciding to take the umpires' offer of bad light to end play 5.3 overs prematurely. The England skipper struck five fours.

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