Cricket: Sensible batting got us home – Andrew Strauss

ANDREW Strauss paid tribute to Alastair Cook and Ian Bell’s “sensible batting” after the duo both registered half-centuries to help England record a five-wicket win over West Indies.

“I think the wicket was pretty slow and flat and we had a pretty good chance of chasing it down,” said Strauss. “But you never know with cricket. One of the beauties of the game is the unexpected can sometimes happen and we put ourselves in a bit of a tricky position by losing a couple [of wickets] last night.

“By the time we got to 40-odd for four, it looked a little bit dicey, but I still felt the wicket was only going to get flatter. I thought Alastair Cook and Ian Bell went about in a very professional manner and got us over the line. It was very sensible batting.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Strauss was also quick to hail the efforts of the tourists, who put up a much more spirited fight than some critics had anticipated. Dogged left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul struck 87 not out and 91, while his partnership of 157 with Marlon Samuels in the Windies’ second innings frustrated England’s bowling attack yesterday.

“It’s been a tough Test match. We’ve had to work very hard for this,” said Strauss. “West Indies have played some really good cricket. The way Chanderpaul and Samuels batted yesterday made life very difficult for us and we had to dig pretty deep.

“The seamers had to go through a lot of overs to take those wickets but, when you have to dig deep, it makes it a bit satisfying when you get over the line.”

It was also a Test to remember for Strauss, who made his first century in 26 attempts – a run stretching back to November 2010. “It was lovely to get that hundred and when you score a hundred in a winning cause, it makes it even more special.”