Strauss stays grounded in victory
Andrew Strauss was naturally delighted to return to Test series-winning ways, but has nevertheless been reminded by West Indies how hard that is.
Strauss’ side today secured a nine-wicket victory at Trent Bridge to clinch the rubber ahead of the Edgbaston finale but, like in the five-wicket result at Lord’s, were pushed hard.
The tourists limited England to a 58-run lead on first innings and, even after capitulating to 61 for six at stumps yesterday, fought back today to set a target of 108.
That was made to look straightforward by Strauss, who hit 45, and Alastair Cook, who was unbeaten on 43 as the world’s top-ranked Test side triumphed half an hour after tea on day four of the second Investec Test.
“Nine wickets sounds quite comprehensive,” Strauss reflected.
“We had opportunities in both Test matches to really grab the game by the scruff of the neck and maybe we haven’t done that quite as well as we would have liked.
“But you’ve got to give credit to the opposition. There are two sides that play in a game of cricket and they’ve dug deep and shown a lot of spirit to get back in the game.
“(Marlon) Samuels and (Darren) Sammy batted very well in their first innings, made life difficult for us and their bowlers have kept coming at us as well.
“Credit to them. They’ve stuck at it very well. We’re obviously delighted to have been a little more consistent over the two Test games and it’s a nice position to find ourselves 2-0 up.”
While this is England’s seventh straight home Test series win, it comes on the back of a winter they were whitewashed by Pakistan and drew with Sri Lanka.
“You’ve got home advantage, you know the conditions better than the opposition and we think we’re a match for any side generally,” Strauss added.
“It’s the right attitude to have to beat anyone at home, but you’ve got to earn the right. If there’s one thing these two Tests have shown us is that Test match wins are not easily achieved.
“You’ve got to work pretty hard for them and we’ve been pushed hard in both those Tests.”
Many expected the tourists to fold this morning, but first-innings centurions Samuels and Sammy added 49 and the former was unbeaten on 76 to ensure a three-figure target.
“We certainly wouldn’t want to be chasing too many more on that wicket,” Strauss admitted. “It was a bit up and down. We actually had to work very hard.
“We came to the ground yesterday morning hoping to establish a sizeable first-innings lead, but weren’t able to do that.
“Thankfully the bowlers bailed us out by bowling exceptionally well last night, which obviously put us in a strong position to finish the job today.”
That bowling effort was led by man of the match Tim Bresnan, who took eight wickets in a Test for the first time and contributed 39 not out with the bat.
“He was fantastic, he proved what a great contributor to the side he is again," Strauss added.
“In the first innings and the second, he bowled very straight, a good length and got the rewards for that. He chipped in with the bat as well. He is a good all-round cricketer and he certainly showed his worth to the side in this Test.”