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Strauss keeps England grounded

Investec Test Series

Steven Finn

Steven Finn has Kamran Akmal lbw for a third-ball duck, one of nine single-figure scores in a particularly woeful Pakistan card

Andrew Strauss sounded a note of caution amidst the cavalcade of plaudits that followed England’s demolition of Pakistan in the first npower Test.

The skipper saw his side bowl Pakistan out for a paltry 80 to wrap up a 354-run win on the fourth morning at Trent Bridge, marking a perfect start to the four-Test series.

James Anderson took the match award and dominated the headlines with second-innings figures of 6-17 - and 11-71 in a match that must rank as his finest in an England shirt.

There were also crucial contributions from Eoin Morgan, who scored a maiden Test century, Paul Collingwood - his partner in a fifth-wicket stand worth 219 in the first innings - and Matt Prior, whose unbeaten second-innings hundred helped England set Pakistan a notional 435 to win.

As pleased as Strauss was to lead England to a third successive Test victory, preceded by two wins under the stewardship of Alastair Cook in Bangladesh, he warned his players to repeat the feat at Edgbaston and beyond.

“I’m very satisfied with what we’ve done,” he said. “Our bowling was first-class.

“There’s a lot to pat ourselves on the back about. But it’s important to remind ourselves that our overriding aim is consistency, and you don’t do that in one game.

“We’ve always been able to pull off a really good Test match victory. Now we need to string them together.

“We have won five Test matches in a row, but certainly that Bangladesh series, you would expect us to win.

“South Africa [last winter] showed us that against the best teams in their conditions we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

The signs for lasting success are encouraging, however, as England head to Birmingham for the second match of the series, starting on Friday.

Kamran Akmal & Matt Prior

Matt Prior's counter-attacking hundred served as further evidence of England's battling qualities, according to captain Andrew Strauss

“Test matches like this give me a lot of heart, because of guys getting us out of trouble when we need them,” Strauss added.

“We had to work very hard at stages. The encouraging thing for me was that we got through those tricky situations and came out the other side really well.

“If you want to be a top-quality Test team you are going to get in trouble at times, and you need people to come out and get you out of trouble.”

Morgan, playing only his third Test, and Prior won high praise from Strauss for their efforts with the bat, both of which began in testing times against a ball that swung lavishly throughout this contest.

“His greatest strengths are his temperament and the way he can read the game,” Strauss said of Morgan, his Middlesex colleague.

“The key is always to get over the first hurdle and prove to yourself you can do it. I’m really excited about what he can bring.

“Prior’s hundred was an outstanding innings and any chance of Pakistan victory was taken away. There’s a lot to be happy with.”

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