Key unlocks West Indies attack

Robert Key's maiden Test hundred took England to a commanding total of 391 for two on the first day of the first Test against West Indies at Lord's.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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London:Robert Key's maiden Test hundred took England to a commanding total of 391 for two on the first day of the first Test against West Indies at Lord's yesterday. Key, dropped on 16, was 167 not out when bad light forced an early close. He had faced 225 balls with 23 fours. England captain Michael Vaughan was 36 not out off 65 balls. Earlier Andrew Strauss's Test-best 137 continued the captain of Lord's-based Middlesex's impressive run of Test scores at the ground after he had made 112 and 83 on debut here against New Zealand in May. Together with Key he put on 291, breaking England's previous best second-wicket stand against the West Indies of 266 set by Peter Richardson and Tom Graveney at Trent Bridge in 1957. England, following an extended tea interval where the teams were introduced to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, started the final session strongly placed with left-hander Strauss 102 not out and Key 90 not out. Key, only playing after regular number three Mark Butcher withdrew because of a neck injury, was unphased by the increasingly overcast conditions. The 25-year-old Kent batsman went to a hundred in his 14th Test innings with a four through midwicket off pace bowler Fidel Edwards. It was Key's 15th boundary in 146 balls. Key was especially severe on 22-year-old off-spinner Omari Banks, playing his first Test in England, several times advancing down the pitch to drive him for textbook fours. Banks's 17 overs went for an expensive 111 runs and the rest of the frontline bowlers were equally costly with fast bowler Tino Best's 16 overs going for 75. But Banks did dismiss left-hander Strauss, cutting, caught behind for wicket-keeper Ridley Jacobs his 200th Test catch. Strauss shook his head but had to go with England healthily placed at 320 for two. The lively Best had come close to claiming his and the West Indies' second wicket when he squared Key up on 58 only for the edge to fall just short of Devon Smith at second slip. Strauss subsequently reached his century with a swept four off Banks, his 15th boundary in 145 balls and then kissed the turf. It all made West Indies captain Brian Lara's decision to field first, look all the more curious. In eight previous Tests where he had inserted the opposition West Indies had lost six, drawn one and only won one. And the last time Lara chose to field first, in the fourth Test against South Africa at Centurion in January, the Proteas piled up 302 for one on the first day on their way to a mammoth total of 604 for six declared. But his decision today was almost vindicated as early as the fourth over when Marcus Trescothick on 10 gave a caught and bowled chance which Best dropped. (PTI)

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