We will be better for this - Strauss
Andrew Strauss knows England must strive for higher standards despite eventually recording an emphatic victory over Bangladesh in the first npower Test at Lord’s.
Back in harness as Test captain after sitting out the 2-0 series win in Bangladesh two months ago, Strauss contributed significantly himself with the bat to an eight-wicket win in which Jonathan Trott’s double century and man-of-the-match Steve Finn’s nine wickets made up for others’ rustiness.
He reflected with something closer to relief than delight, though, on success against tourists who have now won just three times in 67 Tests.
“The fact is we won by eight wickets, but we had to work hard for it and have to give credit to the Bangladesh batsmen in both innings,” he said.
Opener Tamim Iqbal smashed a boundary-laden 94-ball hundred as Bangladesh made 382 following on, Shahadat Hossain having put his country on the Lord’s honours board with five first-innings wickets.
England, however, had enough in reserve to knock off 160 for victory - in one session, and with another to spare - on the back of Strauss’ fluent 82, his second half-century of the match.
“They held us up with some stubborn resistance and good strokeplay,” he added, reasoning too that his team are bound to improve after this first Test of the summer.
“We will be better for this game and the five days of cricket we had, but we are looking to set our standards higher.
Finn, playing on his home ground in only his third Test - and his first in England - grabbed his opportunity in some style, capping a splendid display with three wickets in quick succession this morning.
“There wasn’t a lot there for our bowlers, but the consistent lines and lengths Steven hit were encouraging,” said Strauss.
“He has got attributes - height and bounce - and it is great early in your career to show you belong at this venue, which he has done.
“The bowlers stuck at it very well. At times we had to change plans and dig it in short.
“Also, Graeme Swann didn’t have a huge role to play because there was no turn at all. On most pitches, he’s going to be more threatening.”
Finn had every reason for satisfaction, having ensured his name will also go on the honours board for 5-87 in the second innings and match figures of 9-187.
“The physio had been in my ear - ‘I want to see you on the board’,” he said. “It’s great to see my name up there; it’s something I dreamed about as a child. Being up there is a fantastic feeling.”
Finn, 21, has been tipped by many to become a key member of England’s attack for many years to come, but he was quick to remind people of the circumstances behind his selection.
“The only reason I played here is because Stuart Broad is being rested and, while I haven’t done myself any harm, I am not kidding myself," he said.
“I’m a seamer down the pecking order and I need to put in consistent performances and see where that takes me.”
Finn also developed a party trick of falling over in his follow-through, perhaps as many as seven or eight times during the match.
He took a few anxious moments to get back to his feet once or twice, but is not worried about injuring himself.
“It’s something I do pretty regularly," he said. "I’m like Bambi on ice when I get going. My legs just go from under me, and when one bit goes the rest tends to go.
“When the wicket breaks up as the game wears on, it just slides too much and my feet go from underneath me.”