Despite their defeat - and the questions which will have to be asked of certain members of the attack, Monty very much included - England can take at least one very big consolation out of the first Test - the return of Andrew Strauss to something approaching prime form.

Strauss's form has been affected by various issues over the last couple of years. He was disappointed not to be chosen to lead the side to Australia in 2006 and I've always felt that the loss of his original opening partner, Marcus Trescothick, led to some confusion in Strauss's mind about the type of role that he was required to play without the scoreboard-ticking assurance of a really attacking player at the other end. And then there's the fact that the analysts of the international circuit - and their bowlers - got to work on his technique, identifying and exploiting a weakness around the off-stump, especially when driving.

Despite his centuries at Napier and Old Trafford earlier this year, this was the first time in a long time that I've felt as though he was back to something like his best. He's changed, though - the spinners are almost exclusively played off the back foot and the loose drive is eschewed in favour of the type of judicious leave which can break bowlers' hearts - and his batting looks all the better for it.

His twin centuries in Chennai were the work of an experienced, skilful and mentally resourceful international opener, and, at 31, he hopefully has several more years in the side ahead of him. starting in Mohali later in the week.

1 comment:

Rob said...

An interesting analysis Brian. Without doubt Strauss was the best English batsman on show.

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