Tests won't be a walkover - Strauss
LONDON, England (CMC):
England captain Andrew Strauss yesterday rubbished talk of West Indies being a walkover after his side was forced to fight before securing a five-wicket win in the first Test.
Starting the final day precariously placed at 10 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, British media pundits gave West Indies little or no chance against the world number one side, especially with the Caribbean team 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 to 10 for two 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."
West Indies and England lock horns in the second Test starting on Friday in Nottingham.