Strauss praises England character
England captain Andrew Strauss hailed his side's resolve after they overcame struggles in the early stages of the second npower Test against India to claim a crushing 319-run victory on day four at Trent Bridge.
England slipped to 124 for eight at tea on day one but Stuart Broad’s 64 helped them reach 221, while the 25-year-old’s stunning spell of five wickets - including a hat-trick - for no runs in 16 deliveries with the new ball on Saturday saw the tourists slump from 267 for four to 288 all out.
Ian Bell’s majestic innings of 159 put England in the driving seat yesterday, while Tim Bresnan fell 10 runs short of a deserved century this morning as India were set an unlikely 478 to level the four-match series.
Bresnan then took his first Test five-wicket haul as India were blown away for just 158 in their second innings and Strauss admitted they were made to fight hard for their success before paying tribute to Broad, Bell and Bresnan.
He said: “I thought it was an outstanding performance from the guys, we had to dig very deep. We were twice in the position where India looked very much like favourites to win the game and we dragged it round.
“There were some outstanding individual performances. Stuart, with both the bat and the ball in the first-innings, to rescue our batting performance and then to turn the match on its head with the second new ball.
“But also Ian Bell and Tim Bresnan's batting. They gave us breathing space to be able to go and be favourites to win the game from there.
“I think it’s one of the real measures of a good side is whether they’re able to come back from difficult set of circumstances.
“Most sides are pretty good when they’ve got everything their own way but I think in the last two Test matches we’ve had to dig very deep and it gives me a lot of pride to see guys putting their hands up and delivering when it matters. Also it fills me with a lot of confidence for the future that we can go on and become a better side.”
Bresnan, playing in his first Test match since helping England reclaim the Ashes in Australia over the winter, came into the side in place of the injured Chris Tremlett and pressed his claim for a regular place with a superb all-round performance.
Strauss acknowledged that he is fortunate to be skippering a side that has great batting reserves, with Broad’s qualities on show in the first innings when the top order failed to fire.
“I think our batsmen have done extremely well to earn the initiative in both Test matches,” said Strauss.
“It’s fantastic to see Stuart scoring runs as well as taking wickets and Tim Bresnan showing his all-round capabilities as well. It’s very hard for opposition captains when guys in your lower order can play as well and as freely as those two are.”
One talking point in the series has centred on Ian Bell being reinstated by India when he was run out yesterday and Strauss was quick to applaud the generosity of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side.
“I think it was very commendable that they changed their mind and took back their appeal. I think it’s one of those circumstances where there’s always shades of grey but I think it was good for the game of cricket,” said the opener.
“I think in years to come, it will be looked on as a step in the right direction and hopefully other people will follow those sorts of decisions.”
Broad was named man of the match for his efforts with both bat and ball in the first innings and he was delighted he was able to contribute to a winning effort.
”It’s great to perform in a Test match victory, it’s been a fantastic Test match to play in, I imagine it has been to watch as well,” said Nottinghamshire’s bowling all-rounder.
“It has swayed India’s way, it has swayed our way and there’s been chances there for both teams to really grab the game by the scruff of the neck.
“To make an impact in a game that your team does well in is the most pleasing thing and getting a hat-trick at my home ground is something I’ll look back on with a lot of pleasure in the future.”