Windies no walkovers, says Strauss
LONDON, ENGLAND - England captain Andrew Strauss yesterday rubbished talk of West Indies being easy walkovers after his side was forced to fight before securing a five-wicket win in the first Test.
Starting the final day precariously placed at ten for two, the home side slipped to 57 for four before a 132-run fifth wicket stand between opener Alistair Cook (79) and Ian Bell (63 not out), steered England to victory at Lord’s.
“We certainly didn’t have it all our own way. West Indies made it difficult for us but we are delighted to be 1-0 up,” Strauss said.
“You only had to see the way they ran Australia close (in the recent Test series in the Caribbean) to know they are a competitive side. None of the Tests will be a walkover by any means; few are.”
In the build-up to the series, the British media pundits gave West Indies little or no chance against the world number one side, especially with the Caribbean side fielding an inexperienced line-up in unfamiliar English conditions.
They were rolled over for 243 in their first innings before England piled up 398 to take a lead of 155.
When West Indies crashed to 65 for four in their second innings on the third evening, the match seemed destined to finish well inside five days but Shiv Chanderpaul (91) and Marlon Samuels (86) hammered half-centuries to lift the score to 345.
Set 191 to win, England sputtered late on Sunday’s fourth day, as West Indies produced a gallant effort.
“It’s been a tough Test match and we’ve had to work very hard for this,” a relieved Strauss said.
“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.”
England named an unchanged 13-man squad for the second Test against West Indies starting at Trent Bridge, Nottingham on Friday, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said yesterday.
The hosts included the 11 players who won the first Test at Lord's by five wickets along with fast bowlers Steve Finn and Graham Onions.
Tim Bresnan's place in the side looks most under threat after he took one wicket in the match and was dismissed for nought in his only innings.
"There were some very impressive performances across all five days of the first Test both from individuals and the team as a whole and we were made to work hard for the first victory of the summer," chairman of selectors Geoff Miller said in a statement on the ECB website (www.ecb.co.uk).
"We know the West Indies will again prove challenging opposition and our squad will be looking forward to preparing for another tough match later this week."
Squad: Andrew Strauss (captain), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Graham Onions, Steve Finn.