LONDON - England captain Andrew Strauss was hailed as an “outstanding leader”, as he became only the ninth England player to appear in 100 Tests when leading the side against South Africa at Lord’s on Thursday.

The match, also Strauss’s 50th as England captain, was taking place on the Middlesex batsman’s home ground, where he scored a hundred on Test debut against New Zealand back in 2004.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive David Collier said: “Nobody should be in any doubt whatsoever about the value of Andrew Strauss’s contribution to the England team and the vital role he has played in taking our Test side to the top of the ICC’s Test rankings. “His record of 21 Test hundreds (one shy of England’s all-time record) speaks volumes about his qualities as an opening batsman; he has been an integral member of three Ashes-winning sides — twice as captain — and as well as being an outstanding leader and a consummate professional, is a superb ambassador for the sport as a whole.

“It is fitting that Andrew should reach this momentous landmark on the ground where he has played so much cricket for both his county and his country and where he first announced himself as an international cricketer with a marvellous debut Test hundred against New Zealand in 2004,” Collier added.

The build-up to this Test has seen Strauss having to deal with the fall-out from the controversy surrounding England’s decision to drop Kevin Pietersen from the side for sending text messages to South African players, some of which were said to be critical of the left-handed opener.

England, 1-0 down in this three-match series, must win the third Test at Lord’s to prevent South Africa replacing them as the number one-ranked Test side.

England players to have appeared in 100 Tests:

Alec Stewart 133 career Tests

Graham Gooch 118

David Gower 117

Michael Atherton 115

Colin Cowdrey 114

Geoffrey Boycott 108

Ian Botham 102

Graham Thorpe 100

Andrew Strauss 100