Cricket

Eng grit encourages Strauss

2010-08-02 11:47
Andrew Strauss (File)

Nottingham - Andrew Strauss believes England are developing the battling qualities that will serve them well in their bid to retain the Ashes after they thrashed Pakistan by 354 runs in the first Test.

Victory, achieved with a more than a day to spare at Trent Bridge on Sunday, was ultimately crushing with Pakistan bowled out for 80 - their lowest Test score against England - in pursuit of what would have been a new world record fourth innings victory total of 435.

Pakistan had no answer to James Anderson, who once again revelled in the swing friendly conditions for a Test match-best return of 11 wickets for 71 runs - including a second innings haul of six for 17.

However, there were moments when England's batsmen struggled against the likes of Pakistan pacemen Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul before going 1-0 up in a four-Test series that resumes at Edgbaston on Friday.

What really pleased England captain Strauss was the way Eoin Morgan, whose 130 was his maiden Test century, and Paul Collingwood, who made 82, put together a fifth-wicket stand of 219 that helped take the hosts to 354 in their first innings after they'd faltered at 118 for four.

Similarly, England were in trouble at 72 for five in their second innings before wicketkeeper Matt Prior bailed them out with an unbeaten 102.

"Test matches like this give me a lot of heart because of guys getting us out of trouble when we need them," said Strauss.

"If you want to be a top quality Test team, you need people to come out and get you out of trouble," added Strauss who is hoping to become the first England captain to win a Test series in Australia since Mike Gatting in 1986/87 during an Ashes defence which starts in November.

Strauss has now led England to three successive Test wins - albeit the other two were at home to Bangladesh following a 2-0 series win away to the Tigers under stand-in skipper Alastair Cook earlier this year.

"We have won five Test matches in a row - but certainly that Bangladesh series, you would expect us to win," said Strauss, who added England's 1-1 series draw away to South Africa at the turn of the year was a more accurate guide to their current standing in world cricket.

"South Africa showed us that against the best teams in their conditions we've got a lot of work to do.

"It's just about consistency now. We've always been able to pull off a really good Test match victory. Now we need to string them together."

Anderson, who took his previous Test-best of nine for 98 against New Zealand at Trent Bridge two years ago, saw his latest triumph come in a match where he celebrated his 28th birthday.

The Lancashire swing bowler has had a mixed time lately, being left out of England's victorious World Twenty20 winning team in the Caribbean and then posing problems for Bangladesh before struggling in the mid-season one-dayers.

"It's not been my greatest summer so far," Anderson admitted.

"But I always felt I was bowling well through the one-day series, even though my figures might have shown otherwise.

"I wasn't coming into this game low on confidence. I managed to get rhythm early in the game, got the nicks -- and catches in the slips."

He added: "I thought I bowled with good patience in both innings. I didn't get greedy, or try to bowl the magic ball too much."

Read more on:    andrew strauss
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