Strauss delighted with team effort
Skipper Andrew Strauss reflected on a job well done after England were made to work for their victory in the first Investec Test against West Indies at Lord’s.
The form book suggests the series should be relatively easy for the home side, who sit at the summit of the International Cricket Council World Rankings - six places ahead of their opponents.
Yet West Indies had their moments at the home of cricket and at one stage today, with England 57 for four in pursuit of 191, will have been scenting victory.
However, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell came together in a 132-run alliance to take Strauss’ men within two runs of victory before the former was dismissed for 79.
That had little impact, though, as Bell hit the winning runs to end 63 not out and give England a dream start in the three-match rubber.
Strauss was thankful for the duo’s cool heads, but also paid tribute to the bowlers that dismissed West Indies for 243 and 345 on a benign surface.
“Whenever you’re chasing, there’s a bit of pressure so it was an outstanding effort from Cook and Bell,” the skipper said.
“They played in a very classy manner. It’s been a tough Test match and we’ve had to work very hard for this.
“We had to dig pretty deep, the seamers had to go through a lot of overs, but when you have to dig deep it makes it a bit more satisfying when you get over the line.”
The chief destroyer in England’s attack over the last five days has been Stuart Broad, who claimed career-best match figures of 11-165.
That meant he became just the third player to score a century, take a five-for and a 10-wicket match haul at the home of cricket.
Broad is the first England bowler to achieve the third of those feats since Sir Ian Botham, against New Zealand, in 1978.
Yet the 25-year-old took more pleasure from the victory, insisting the individual accolades would have counted for little had England not succeeded in their ultimate goal.
“It is an honour to get on all three honours boards,” he said. “The 10-for one has been empty since 1978, so it is nice to fill the gap there.
“But the most important thing was getting that victory - there were a few nervous moments this morning.
“Any cricketer will say the same, score a hundred, take a five-for or a 10-for and lose, it means nothing. You take anything to get that victory.”
Many will now expect England to go on and win the series 3-0, but neither Strauss nor Broad are taking anything for granted against a West Indies side they knew would be competitive.
Strauss said: “You only had to see the way they ran Australia close (in the recent 2-0 defeat) to know they are a competitive side. None of the Tests will be a walkover by any means; few are.”
Broad added: “We are good at taking things in small chunks, small targets, because it is dangerous to look too far ahead and say we can win 3-0.
“It is just important now that we get our minds ready for the next Test (on Friday) at Trent Bridge, where we have played good cricket in the past.”