Strauss boosts England's hopes

England reached 272-3 when batting first in the third Test against India at Mumbai.

England's day started badly when Alistair Cook was forced out by a stomach bug.

Ian Bell was promoted to fill the opening spot and saw the score through to 52 before he was first out for 18.

But if that suggested concern, Andrew Strauss had other ideas as he cashed in on a good wicket to bat his way out of the blues that have dogged his game in recent times. He paced his innings and was only 35 at lunch, but he had survived the moving ball and prospered during the afternoon.

A chance against him was missed when he was 92, the ball passing through slips before Rahul Dravid could react and then on 123 Mahendra Singh Dhoni dropped an easier chance.

His century was his eighth and ended when he scored 128, falling to Harbhajan Singh's off-spin.

Owais Shah complemented Strauss' work by taking a more attacking role.

He was severe on Irfan Pathan, hitting him for three boundaries in an over at one stage. He was suffering cramps in his hands and was forced to retire hurt on 50.

However, there was no easing in the scoring rate as Kevin Pietersen replaced him and scored a quick 39 before edging an attempted drive to the bowling of Sreesanth, India's most successful bowler on the day with 2-51.

Paul Collingwood and Andrew Flintoff were the not out batsmen, leaving England in a powerful position heading into the second day.

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