400 would be a good first innings total: Strauss

Andrew Strauss feels 400 would be a good first innings total for his team but it will have to labour hard to cross the mark.

updated: December 12, 2008 16:59 IST
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Centurion England batsman Andrew Strauss feels 400 would be a good first innings total for his team but it will have to labour hard to cross the mark as early as possible before the wicket deteriorates on the second day on Friday.

"Generally in India, 400 is a good first innings total. So we have to work really hard tomorrow, the wickets would be deteriorating later in the day so if we can bat the first session well we can reach the 400 mark," he said after the opening day's play, which the visitors ended with 229 for 5 on the board.

With Indian pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, who scalped two wickets, already reverse swinging, Strauss said it would make life difficult for the batsman on Friday.

"It is difficult for batsman out there. Zaheer Khan is a great bowler, especially his skills of reverse swinging the ball. I mean we knew what to expect but going there facing it is very difficult," he said.

Strauss, who scored 123 before being caught and bowled by Amit Mishra, said he was delighted to notch up a century despite staying after a long lay-off.

"I am delighted and very happy to get the century. I had not played much cricket of late but Abu Dhabi was fantastic. I was not even with a bad form, I was literally without any form and so going into the match and getting the runs it feels great," Strauss said after the day's play.

"I would have loved to stay there overnight but I hope the other guys do well tomorrow," he added.

Asked if he considered his century historic in the given circumstances, Strauss said "This is an important Test match for the game of cricket. We came back and showed that the game of cricket will continue. To get an hundred is very special.

"I do not want to kind of over play my role. It is always important to me to score runs, particularly in Test matches. I have never been feeling what will happen if my place in the side is there or not. I did not feel any pressure in coming and playing here today," he said.

Strauss also said he was not under any pressure to return to India and felt his decision to return was correct.

"I did not have any mental anguish during the last 10 days. I was one of the first guys to decide in favour of the tour. I think I did a right thing. I am talking only on my behalf it is a great relief mentally with security officials standing with machine guns and things like that," he said.

Strauss also said since the issue of their return in the aftermath of Mumbai terror attack dominated the news than the cricketing issues, it felt fantastic to play the match.

"There has been so much talk about our coming back and whether it is a right thing to do or not. The cricket side has not been seen as important during the last three days leading upto the Test match.

"It was such a relief to concentrate on the Test match. I think from both sets of players point of view it is fantastic playing a Test match. This is a great place to play Test and it is always an education playing here whether you play a spin or reverse swing. If you do not enjoy playing here, you are not enjoying in most places," he said.

"During the last three days, I was only concentrating on playing the Test match. It made me feel both refreshed and focused for the Test match," Strauss said.

The England batsman said it was hard to play on a flat wicket but he was comfortable as he was not thinking of doing anything big.

"If it is flat wicket, if you cannot score runs on a flat wicket, you struggle. It was slightly trickier playing reverse swing. The pace bowlers were getting some reverse swing and the spinners were little more bounce.

"I was really comfortable and not wanted to go anything big. There were some good bowling there," he said.

Strauss said England would have liked of they had lost a couple of wickets less.

"We would have liked to be about two wickets less than where we are now. So we could get some pretty good practice in the middle," he said.

About Amit Mishra, Strauss said "he looks to me as a very promising bowler. He has excellent variations.

"He was a bit slow with his deliveries today. I can imagine that on a quicker wicket, it will be more of hard work for a batsman.

"There was some scruff on the bowlers' follow through and the wicket is going to break out. I think spin is going to play an increasingly dominant role in this game. Now it is a bit slower there but it will be quicker as the games progresses. It will hard work for both sides".