Strauss warns against complacency
Captain Andrew Strauss is determined not to let England rest on their laurels as they seek an unassailable series lead against West Indies in the second Investec Test.
England head into tomorrow’s opening day at Trent Bridge leading the three-match rubber 1-0 thanks to their five-wicket victory at Lord’s.
The world’s number-one ranked Test side were on top for large parts of that match, but it was not straightforward as Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels and Kemar Roach shone for the tourists.
Strauss saw enough of England’s opponents to know another tough battle awaits in Nottingham.
“It was very hard work (at Lord’s), that’s always the case with Test match cricket,” he said. “Often it’s hard work to get on top of the opposition and often it’s hard work to nail that final nail in coffin.
“West Indies put up a really good fight. There are times when they made life difficult for us and we were relieved to a certain extent to get over the line and win that game, but we’re also aware we have to do it again this week if we want to win.
“It’s all about just keeping our feet on the ground and making sure that we’re willing to do the hard graft necessary to get on top again.”
Alastair Cook and Ian Bell helped secure victory at Lord’s with a fifth-wicket stand of 132 after England had slipped to 57 for four in pursuit of 191.
Strauss believes that successful chase will stand his side in good stead for the future.
“That target was tricky and there was a time when we were under a bit of pressure and Alastair Cook and Ian Bell dealt with that very well - that’s very important,” he said.
“It’s obviously always important to win in those circumstances and it gives you more confidence going into the next time you face a situation like that.
“There were some really good performances from our side. Obviously Stuart Broad (who took 11 wickets) bowled exceptionally well, most of the batters got a score in the game, so I think we’re feeling in pretty good form heading into this match.
“But, as I said before, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, it’s going to be very hard work this week, and matches here are always hard fought.”
Strauss struck his first Test century in 18 months at the home of cricket, but knows he cannot rest on that success.
He said: “As I said at the time, it was a bit of a monkey off my back because people kept talking about it.
“But I’m obviously more conscious than ever that I need to contribute consistently; it’s not just about getting one score, it’s doing it again and I’ll be aiming to do that this week.”
On the possibility of changing a winning line-up, Strauss said: “You always pick the side you think is most likely to win you the Test match. We’ll look at conditions in the morning and select the side accordingly.”
While England will decide on any changes tomorrow, West Indies captain Darren Sammy is pondering bringing in specialist spinner Shane Shillingford.
Sammy said: “Most definitely, we’ll consider playing Shillingford. Looking at our attack, playing on flat pitches over the last year or so, a spinner has always been in our line-up, and we’ve gone with the two quick men and myself, and that has been successful for us.
“So we’ll definitely consider that and hopefully we can go out there and take 20 wickets against England.”
West Indies could also be boosted by the return of paceman Ravi Rampaul after he missed the first Test because of a neck problem.
Sammy added: “In the last year and half, Ravi has been the guy who always takes wickets with the new ball for us. The way Roach is bowling and the inclusion of Ravi, that could be a very good combination for us.”