Andrew Strauss hit his second hundred of the series to lead another formidable England batting performance in the fourth Test against West Indies on Thursday.
Strauss struck 142 – his 16th Test hundred – and shared a record opening stand with his deputy Alastair Cook that allowed England to reach 301 for three in their first innings when stumps were drawn on the opening day.
The England captain reached his hundred,when he struck his 150th ball from Sulieman Benn over mid-wicket for a six onto the roof of the Greenidge and Haynes Stand.
He gained admirable support from Cook in a stand of 229 that established a new England first wicket record against West Indies in Tests.
But Strauss was one of three wickets that West Indies claimed in the final period to help them end the day strongly. Cook also fell for 94 and Owais Shah for seven.
England were fortunate when they won the toss and chose to bat on a typically hard,true Kensington Oval pitch. Strauss and Cook then gave them a memorable start when they reached 108 without loss at lunch.
Strauss reached 50 from 71 balls,when he drove Benn through cover for his eighth boundary,but it appeared to be a nervous period for the England captain.
The ball after he reached the milestone,he edged Benn past a diving Devon Smith at slip for his ninth four,and then on 58,he was dropped by West Indies captain Chris Gayle at first slip off Fidel Edwards.
But Strauss soon settled again,and with Cook unflappable at the other end,and also hitting only his second six in Tests,they continued to give England a solid base.
After lunch,Strauss and Cook continued to pile the pressure on West Indies,when they took England to 221 without loss.
Cook had reached 50 for the third straight innings in the series,when he steered Benn to third man for two in the first half-hour after lunch.
Strauss had brought up his milestone,and the pair set a new England opening record against West Indies when passed the 212 set by Reg Simpson and Cyril Washbrook 59 years ago at Nottingham.
But in the third over after tea,England lost Strauss,when Daren Powell bowled him with the perfect in-swinging yorker. He batted for four hours,10 minutes,and struck 18 fours and one six from his 210 balls.
Five overs later,England suffered another setback,when Cook was caught at mid-wicket off Jerome Taylor miscuing a hook at his short,rising 187th ball after batting a little more than 4-1/2 hours.
The England vice-captain had also endured an anxious period,when deep mid-wicket fielder Benn missed him on 85 off Powell essaying a hook,and on 86,when he edged Taylor between wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin and slip fielder Chris Gayle for the last of his nine fours.
For the next 40 minutes,Shah consolidated things with Kevin Pietersen before he was caught at slip off Benn for seven top-edging a cut to leave England 259 for three.
Paul Collingwood,not out on 11,and Pietersen,not out on 32,batted the rest of the way to ensure England went pass the 300-run mark.
England made three changes to their side from the previous Test with Ravi Bopara,Tim Ambrose,and Ryan Sidebottom replacing Andrew Flintoff,Matt Prior,and Steve Harmison.
West Indies were unchanged,and they lead the five-Test series 1-0,following an innings and 23-run victory in the opening Test at Sabina Park in Jamaica,the abandonment of the second Test at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua,and a draw in the third Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground.