Coming into hot and humid Jamshedpur with the series wrapped up by the home side was hardly ever an inviting thought for Andrew Strauss, England's stand-in skipper. With his first in command Andrew Flintoff opting to rest, Strauss helped set up a consolation victory, the least England could do, given the circumstances. Captaining England for the first time, Strauss showed no signs of nerves, and was on course to compiling a century till the elements cut short his innings.
Faced with a target of 224, Strauss set the tempo, feasting on India's inexperienced bowling attack. While the Indian seamers erred in length, Strauss pounced on the bad balls and neatly dispatching them between the gaps. He found an able partner in Ian Bell, who responded to the situation with some aggressive strokes. While Strauss collected each of his 10 boundaries, the silence among the crowd was palpable. He picked the spinners and pacers with ease, and ensured that England establish a solid platform at the top, which helped negate the spinners in the middle overs. In many ways, it was a typical innings of his character, mixing caution with aggression.
Once Strauss reached his half-century, one could see that England were in safe shores. The sapping heat was always going to be a factor and having spent the entire day leading his side, cramps were beginning to set in. Frequent stoppages for drinks didn't help and at 74, Strauss had to cut short his innings, retiring hurt and with England only 65 runs adrift. Standing in for Flintoff, Strauss was impressive in his leadership, shouldering the responsibility that was required of him and should serve him well, should he take on the job permanently.