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The No.1 test side in the world, England won the first test against underdogs West Indies by a convincing margin of 5 wickets on the 5th day at Lord's on Monday afternoon. Needing 181 to win on the final day with eight wickets in hand, England were jolted early by Kemar Roach & Co. as they lost Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen, both having made 13, within the first session but the ever reliable Alastair Cook (79) and Ian Bell (63*) made sure that England came out of a slight hole and registered a win that put them 1-0 up in the 3 test series.
Needing another 181 runs to win the first test, the English overnight batsmen Jonathan Trott and Alastair Cook resumed the England chase at 10/2 and were put under pressure staright away on the final day by Kemar Roach. England lost their 3rd wicket in the form Jonathan Trott(13) with the score on just 29 when Roach found the outside edge with an effort ball that found its way into the hands of Darren Sammy at second slip.
Kevin Pietersen then strode out to the wicket looking to put some pressure back on the visitors. He and Cook kept the score moving at a brisk, picking up the ones and twos along with the occasional boundary. The pair added 28 in quick time within the first hour before Pietersen fell, against the run of play. Debutant Shannon Gabriel found a thin inside edge off the bat of the lanky batsman when the latter attempted to pull a back of a length delivery.
Ian Bell then came in at No.6 and joined the steady Alastair Cook with another 134 needed. At drinks the match was tantalisingly poised with England on 70/4.
Bell and Cook did well to keep the scoreboard moving after drinks, automatically putting pressure back on the Windies. The lack of penetration from the Windies' 3rd and 4th bowlers in Darren Sammy and debutant Shannon Gabriel came to the fore as the English pair pulled their team out of a hole. Bell continued from where he left off in the first innings, looking assured and fluent. Cook was determined to take his side home and grafted.
A bit of wayward bowling from Gabriel gave England a few boundaries and with them eased the pressure. The left-hand right-hand pair brought up the 50 run partnership in just 74 balls before lunch to get the home side closer to the target.
Alastair Cook opened up significantly with 20 minutes to go for the Lunch interval capitalising on the medium pace of Sammy and the spin of Marlon Samuels to reach fifty in very quick time, off just 72 balls. This enabled England to get within 60 runs of the target at Lunch with 6 wickets remaining as they scurried through almost unnoticed to 131/4 in 32 overs, with Bell and Cook firmly in control.
Ian Bell and Alastair Cook were welcomed post lunch to much better batting conditions with the sun out. The pair took advantage of the situation and finished the job smartly. Both batsmen saw off another burst from Kemar Roach rather sensibly before picking off the runs on either side of the wicket. There were no alarms whatsoever and the batsmen milked the bowling on a docile pitch.
Bell showed more intent against the spin of Samuels by using his feet cleverly to loft and work him into gaps. Cook was doing what he does best, waiting patiently for scoring opportunity and picking off runs with ease having been at the crease for quite long.
Although West Indies removed Cook for 79 just 2 runs short of the target, England romped home in fine style with 5 wickets to spare despite an early scare from their top order.
So, despite a spirited comeback from the West Indies in their second innings with both bat and ball it wasn't quite enough to prevent them from a loss in the 1st Test of the series at Lord's thanks to some very professional and consistent cricket from the World's No.1 test side, England. The series now moves to Trent Bridge on Friday for what promises to be another good test match between these two sides.
England: A Strauss (c), A Cook, J Trott, K Pietersen, I Bell, J Bairstow, M Prior (wk), T Bresnan, S Broad, G Swann, J Anderson.
West Indies: A Barath, K Powell, K Edwards, D Bravo, S Chanderpaul, M Samuels, D Sammy (c), D Ramdin (wk), K Roach, S Gabriel, F Edwards
West Indies 1st Innings 243 all out (89.5 overs, 2.71rpo)
S Chanderpaul 87* (175) S Broad 7-72
A Barath 42 (101) J Anderson 2-56
England 1st Innings 398 all out (113.3 overs, 3.5 rpo)
A Strauss 122(258) K Roach 3/87
I Bell 61 (105) S Gabriel 3/60
West Indies 2nd Innings 345 (130.5 overs, 2.63 rpo)
S Chanderpaul 91(250) G Swann 3/59
M Samuels 86(172) S Broad 4/93
England 2nd Innings 193/5 (47 overs,4.10 rpo)
A Cook 79(127) K Roach 3/60
I Bell 63*(103) D Sammy 1/25
File Photograph Copyright: Cormac
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