The 35-year-old had come into the game with questions being raised by some about his long-term future in the captaincy role after a poor run of form with the bat.
However, Strauss emphatically alleviated any concerns about his place by scoring 121 not out, his first hundred since November 2010, as England ended the day on 259-3 – a lead of 16.
“It was a great feeling to get the 100. It was quite torturous getting there, the last 15, 20 runs but I suppose that’s what makes it even more special when you do cross the line eventually,” Strauss told Sky Sports.
“It’s been a little while coming, I had to dig pretty deep and work hard and thankfully it was meant to be today.
“It was a very special ovation. It went on and on and it was slightly emotional. I had to take a few moments.
“It’s not all that often in your career that you are able to score a Test century and they are always very special.”
The day had started in the best possible fashion for England, with Stuart Broad taking the final West Indies wicket at the first opportunity – Shannon Gabriel edging the first ball of the day, and his first ball in Test cricket, straight to Graeme Swann in the slips.
England began their innings well, with Strauss and Alastair Cook combining effectively to take England to the verge of a half-century opening partnership before Kemar Roach dismissed Cook with the score at 47 – the Essex left-hander chopping the ball onto his own stumps.
The wicket brought the indomitable Jonathan Trott to the crease, who played in his usual minimalist style to help take England to 80-1 lunch.
The two batsmen carried on in the same vein after lunch, seemingly comfortable against the West Indies bowling attack as they gradually accumulated runs, bringing up their half centuries before tea as England reached 167-1 at the interval.
Strauss edged closer to his century after the break although endured a nervous time in the nineties, first being dropped at slip off what turned out to be a no ball from Fidel Edwards, and then losing his batting partner Trott – as England’s number three was caught behind trying to drive Darren Sammy.
However, England’s skipper did eventually reach three figures, with a trademark cut shot for four, receiving a huge ovation from the crowd and an even bigger embrace from his new batting partner Kevin Pietersen.
The 31-year-old looked lively at the crease, enjoying a mini battle of wills with Edwards, as he picked up runs quickly against a tired looking West Indies attack and he will be disappointed to have lost his wicket cheaply – caught behind for 32 trying to cut a wide delivery from part-time spinner Marlon Samuels.
Ian Bell came to the crease at 244-3 and had a potentially tricky half hour to negotiate as the tourists took the new ball with the score at 259. However with the light deteriorating, Edwards only managed two balls before the umpires called a halt to play for the day.
England will resume on day three 16 runs ahead of the West Indies’ total, with the chance to establish a big lead over the tourists, and with a long batting line-up to come.
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