‘You guys should have learnt your lesson after Alastair Cook,’ said Jonathan Trott, when commenting on the pre-match column inches spent querying his captain’s form. As legitimate as the line of enquiry was- and it was certainly way short of a witch-hunt- Andrew Strauss answered it, if not in the same way that Cook made his questioners eat their words in Australia, then in pleasing fashion nonetheless. Much better to have your bat, rather than your team-mates, make the point.
In partnership with Cook, with whom he added 122 for the first wicket, Strauss played as Strauss can, which is to say not in an eye-catching way, but in a common sense way, eschewing the riskier elements of his game to which he had been drawn in Galle, and returning to the kind of methodical efficiency that characterised his best years as an opening batsman.
Sense has been far from common amongst England’s batsmen this winter, something Strauss set about trying to put right yesterday. Gone, for the most part, was the sweep that caused his initial downfall in Galle, and the attempted lofted drive that finished him in the second innings. Instead, there was steady, risk-free accumulation with the occasional bad ball dispatched to the boundary, when warranted.