Strauss encouraged by Lord's victory
Andrew Strauss saw a glimpse of England’s future in their 10-wicket dismantling of West Indies at Lord’s - and the captain is excited by the prospect of more to come.
The performances of debutant seamer Graham Onions, emerging all-rounder Graeme Swann and new number three Ravi Bopara underpinned a victory inside three days in the first npower Test.
Strauss is especially encouraged that the key contributions came from players still finding their feet in a Test squad he hopes can confirm superiority over the Windies at Durham next week - and then get the better of Australia in the Ashes.
Onions finished with a haul of 7-102; Bopara battled hard for a crucial first-innings hundred, and man-of-the-match Swann excelled with a maiden half-century and figures of 6-55 with his off-spin.
West Indies never had a lasting answer, suffering debilitating collapses two days running.
“We played some pretty clinical cricket,” Strauss enthused. “You’d be hard pressed to find too many ’negatives’ out of this game.”
Strauss was delighted to see newcomers making a name for themselves - and proving he does not have to rely on one or just a few good men to get the better of West Indies, or Australia.
While his opposite number Chris Gayle was left recalling “disastrous” sessions and avoidance of “disgrace” as he came to terms with defeat, Strauss could afford the broadest of smiles throughout.
“If you want to win games consistently you need performances coming from all 11 individuals,” he said.
There were some different selections, fresh faces - and they all came to the party.
"That’s what you want to see; you need some depth in an international squad if you want to do well, and it looks like we are building some decent depth.”
Bopara answered the call emphatically to fill England’s problem position at one wicket down.
“We were in some trouble on day one at 100 for four - and the way, in particular, that Ravi stood up and showed his temperament under pressure is really encouraging,” added the captain.
“It was crucial to the outcome of the Test match. It was not easy to bat on day one - the wicket was a bit green and nipped around a bit - and someone needed to front up and play the conditions well.
“He did that, and it’s really encouraging when you see that from a guy who hasn’t played a lot before - because it’s an examination of his temperament and character.”
Bopara was far from the only individual to rise to a significant occasion.
“I thought we bowled with some good hostility and kept at it when it got a bit flatter. It’s just good to get over that finishing line - which we struggled to do in [the winter’s 1-0 series defeat in] the West Indies,” Strauss noted.
“We won the important periods and then kept the pressure on. I’m very happy with that - we need a lot more over the course of the summer.
"Winning matches lifts the team and makes them feel part of something very special. It gives everyone confidence, and the more you do it the more you believe you can win when the chips are down.
“Graeme Swann has been contributing pretty well for a while now. But what a great start for Graham Onions.
“He’ll be delighted with his week, and I’m delighted for him.
“It shows there’s some good talent in English cricket. It was fantastic to see those guys do well.”
Gayle did not seek to hide from some painful truths.
"Obviously, we are very disappointed in the manner we lost the game in three days,” said the Jamaican, who had to admit six dropped chances in one session on day one and then some flaky batting in each innings cost his side.
“We have to give credit to England. I thought they played some good cricket all round, and held on to their chances,” he added.
“But that last session on the first day put us on the back foot, and we have ourselves to blame for that.
“Fidel (Edwards) bowled brilliantly and could easily have set the game up for us. But the chances were put down.
“The last couple of weeks we have had some hiccups with the batting, and in this Test match it kind of crumbled again - and we lost the plot. It was a disaster for us.
“In the second innings, Denesh Ramdin and Brendan Nash saved us from disgrace with a fighting performance.”