Alastair Cook and Ian Bell led England to victory in the first Test against the West Indies at Lord’s on Monday.
England, set a target of 191 to win, were faltering at 57 for four before lunch on the fifth and final day. But Cook (79) and Bell (63 not out) shared a fifth-wicket partnership of 132 that saw England, the world’s number one ranked Test side, to the brink of victory before left-handed opener Cook was out with two runs needed when caught in the gully off West Indies captain Darren Sammy.
Bell though struck the winning boundary for a win that gave England a 1-0 lead in this three-match series heading into the second Test at Trent Bridge starting Friday.
“We felt the wicket was pretty slow and flat,” England captain Andrew Strauss said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“It looked a bit dicey at 40 odd for four but Alastair Cook and Ian Bell set about it in a very civilised manner and saw us home.”
England’s first innings saw Strauss end his 18-month wait for a Test century and the opening batsman added: “It was lovely to score that hundred and when you do that in a winning cause it makes it all the more special.”
West Indies – who had not won a Test match outside the Caribbean against major opposition since defeating South Africa in Port Elizabeth in 2007 and came into this game with a record of just two wins in 30 matches – made England work for their victory and did well to take the game into the fifth day.
“We did a lot of good things and we need to look at them and repeat them more consistently,” said Sammy.
“We fancied our chances this morning but once the hardness of the ball went away, it became much easier to bat.
|Final day scorecard|
West Indies first innings 243
England first innings 398
West Indies second innings 345
England second innings (overnight 10-2)
A Strauss c Powell b Roach 1
Bowling: F. Edwards 8-0-24-0 (1nb), Roach 13-2-60-3 (10nb), Gabriel 5-1-26-1, Sammy 10-1-25-1, Samuels 10.1-0-51-0
“An experienced batting line-up like England’s showed their class and saw them home.”
England resumed Monday on 10 for two after Kemar Roach had taken two wickets for seven runs in eight balls to remove Strauss and night-watchman James Anderson on Sunday.
Both Cook and Jonathan Trott had yet to score.
Roach struck again on Monday to remove Trott for 13 with a good length ball that squared him up and took the edge with Sammy, diving to his left, holding a good catch at second slip.
And 13 also proved an unlucky number for Trott’s fellow South Africa-born batsman Kevin Pietersen.
He had just pulled Test debutant Shannon Gabriel’s third delivery of the innings for four when, to the fast bowler’s next ball, he tried to repeat the stroke and got a bottom edge to wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin.
England were in trouble but Cook got them going again.
He completed a 78-ball fifty featuring eight fours when he late cut off-spinner Marlon Samuels and after lunch Bell followed him to the landmark in 84 balls.
That West Indies started the last day with even an outside chance of victory owed much to Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Officially the world’s best batsman, the Guyana left-hander made scores of 87 not out and 91 while spending more than 10 hours at the crease in this match.
Together with Samuels (86) he put on 157 for the fifth wicket in the second innings as the West Indies gave their bowlers a target to defend and a chance of a first win in 15 Tests in England.
For England, this Test was a personal triumph for Stuart Broad, the man-of-the-match. The fast-medium bowler took a Test-best seven for 72 in the first innings and four for 43 in the second for a match haul of 11 for 165.
Broad, who made 169 against Pakistan at Lord’s in 2010, became just the fourth player to take five wickets in an innings, 10 in a match and score a century in Lord’s Tests.
Only England’s Gubby Allen and Ian Botham, and Australia’s Keith Miller, had previously completed that ‘treble’.