England sweep West Indies aside
England wasted little time in knocking off a meagre 32 to wrap up an emphatic 10-wicket victory, with two days to spare, against West Indies in the first npower Test at Lord’s.
England’s first Test win at Lord’s since beating Bangladesh in 2005 is also their primary Test triumph since last summer’s final match against South Africa.
It ends a frustrating run, particularly against West Indies, who held on for a 1-0 series win in the Caribbean earlier this year. However, England need only avoid defeat in the second Test at the Riverside to regain the Wisden Trophy.
Today’s margin of victory would have been even greater had it not been for Denesh Ramdin and Brendan Nash’s 143-run alliance, which forced England to bat again.
The sixth-wicket pair came together at 79 for five in the over before lunch, 146 behind, after yesterday’s heroes Graham Onions (2-64) and man-of-the-match Graeme Swann (3-39) had broken through three times in as many overs.
Ramdin and Nash rebuilt after the interval to register the first century partnership of a relatively low-scoring match, typical of England in May.
Their resistance, which England aided by dropping both, was the first time in the match Chris Gayle’s side had displayed real fight with the bat.
Stuart Broad broke their stand shortly before tea. He and Swann wrapped up West Indies’ tail soon after to hand England’s opening batsmen a straightforward task.
Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook, who both made 14, were determined not to offer the tourists’ any further consolation and saw their side home in 6.1 overs.
It was rich reward for a crowd that braved cold, blustery conditions and sat through an hour-long rain delay that halved the morning session and elongated the afternoon by half an hour.
West Indies resumed on 39 for two, trailing by 186. Both Broad and James Anderson quickly settled into the line and length that troubled West Indies so greatly yesterday, although Lendl Simmons and Devon Smith found the rope thrice and twice respectively in the opening half hour.
Debutant Onions, replacing Broad at the Nursery End, broke through in the day’s 10th over with a rising delivery that the right-handed Simmons (21) could only divert to Cook, who took a smart catch diving forward at square-leg.
Chanderpaul got off a pair with a back-foot drive for four against Swann, but perished next ball. Swann enticed the left-hander forward, inducing an edge to Ravi Bopara at short-cover.
Joint world number two Test batsman Chanderpaul looked a shadow of the batsman virtually immovable in the corresponding series two years ago.
Smith cut Onions uppishly for four but, like Chanderpaul, was on his way back to the pavilion immediately after, for 41, adding to his reputation of getting out when set. Onions’ superb swinging yorker split the left-hander’s middle stump in two.
Nash was reprieved without scoring after lunch when his outside edge off Anderson flew past Swann’s outstretched right hand at second slip.
Swann and debutant Tim Bresnan combined to send down four consecutive maidens but the duo got going again, as bright sunshine eased batting conditions, and brought up their fifty-partnership from 111 deliveries.
Ramdin struck three fours in Onions' eighth over, the first almost presenting Cook with a chance at gully, to exceed West Indies’ first-innings 152.
Their century alliance came two Onions overs later, but almost ended immediately. Onions, however, could not hold a right-handed return catch from Ramdin in his follow-though.
Reprieved, Ramdin went to fifty with a lofted drive over the covers for four and Nash reached his half-century soon after.
Broad ended England’s frustration, knocking back Ramdin’s off stump 10 minutes before tea. His 61 occupied 98 balls and included 13 fours.
That signalled the beginning of the end for West Indies, whose tail made little effort to offer Nash the support he craved in order to complete a hundred.
Swann trapped Jerome Taylor in front for a brisk 15 and cleaned up Sulieman Benn for nought in his next over.
Fidel Edwards perished to Broad in the next set of six, fending a bouncer to Bresnan who took a neat diving catch in the gulley.
Nash was the last to fall, looking for boundaries, caught by Cook at deep point for 81 off Broad, who finished with 3-64. Nash’s innings lasted 139 deliveries and included 14 fours.
England’s openers looked assured against Edwards and Taylor, both picking off a couple of fours. Strauss’ second was a fine cover drive off Edwards to herald his first Test win since taking over as captain from Kevin Pietersen in January.