x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Strauss finds form again

England Test captain Andrew Strauss seems to have found his form playing for a Somerset side that faced India as a warm-up to India's matches against England.

Andrew Strauss, England's Test captain, warmed up for next week's first Test against India by scoring a quick-fire 78 for Somerset against the tourists at Taunton on Friday.

Strauss has made a brief loan between county side to Somerset from Middlesex in the hope of rediscovering his form after a miserable run during England's recent Test series win over Sri Lanka.

The switch paid dividends as Strauss shared a 101-run partnership with Arul Suppiah before the opener was dismissed by Amit Mishra shortly before lunch on the opening day of the three-day match.

Strauss scored just 27 runs in three Tests against Sri Lanka and, with Middlesex's fixtures offering little chance for first-class action, he decided to take the risk of giving India's bowlers a chance to dent his morale ahead of the start of the first Test at Lord's, which starts on Thursday.

Before play, Strauss also took time out to praise Sachin Tendulkar, as the Indian batsman looks for his 100th international hundred in the forthcoming series between the sides.

Tendulkar has notched 51 Test and 48 one-day centuries, and Strauss said there are few signs of the 38-year-old Indian's powers diminishing.

"It goes without saying that it is a phenomenal achievement, not just the fact he scored those runs, but his desire and motivation to play that long and keep chasing down those records," Strauss said.

"He seems to be playing as well as ever at the moment. It is a great example for us all that if you are still hungry, there is no reason why your powers should decline as you get older. Technically, he is fantastic - his mental strength to bat under that amount of pressure for all that time is fantastic.

"He is a very dignified and humble man, as well. If there are good examples out there, he is probably the best of them."

However, Strauss is hoping England paceman Chris Tremlett can make life uncomfortable for Tendulkar and his teammates in the first Test at Lord's next week.

"Are India susceptible to short deliveries? I think all the subcontinent sides have got better at that in recent years," Strauss said.

"It comes as a result of touring here quite often. We are not expecting any dramatic weaknesses there but we know someone, like Chris Tremlett, performed very well against them last time around here.

"I think we saw against Australia and Sri Lanka, that type of bowling, if done consistently and accurately, will trouble most people."

Meanwhile, former Test bowler Rumesh Ratnayake was named as the Sri Lanka coach yesterday for the home series against Australia starting next month. Ratnayake replaced Stuart Law of Australia, who held the role on an interim basis until the end of the recent tour of England.