1st August 2011, 08:30 PM
England resilience delights Strauss
NOTTINGHAM (AFP) - England captain Andrew Strauss praised his team's resolve after they fought back from a couple of tight spots to thrash India by 319 runs in the second Test at Trent Bridge here Monday.
Victory, achieved with more than a day to spare, gave England a 2-0 lead in this four-match series and left them on the brink of replacing India at the top of the ICC's Test Championship table.
But the win, a record in terms of runs by either side in the 101-match history of England-India Tests, was not without its difficulties.
England, having lost the toss, were 124 for eight in their first innings before man-of-the-match Stuart Broad made 64 to boost the total to 221.
And with India threatening a big first innings lead fast-medium bowler Broad, on his Nottinghamshire home ground, took a hat-trick on his way to Test-best figures of six for 46.
Ian Bell, given a run-out reprieve, produced a sublime 159 in England's second innings 544 with seamer Tim Bresnan, in for the injured Chris Tremlett, contributing 90 down the order before taking a Test-best five for 48 as India, chasing a record 478 to win, were skittled out for 158 on Monday.
"To be 120-odd for eight you're behind the eight-ball, but Broad and (Graeme) Swann have done that sort of stuff for us a few times before and it's hard for captains to set fields for," Strauss told Sky Sports.
"Then also Stuart Broad with the second new ball to get us back in the game. I'm proud of what we did this week, we've played some great cricket and come back at important times.
"Bresnan was unlucky not to play in the first Test and he was outstanding with bat and ball in this Test.
"He keeps putting his credentials in place and makes the (selection) decisions harder and harder. It's a good position to be in."
As for Bell's century, he added: "It was an outstanding innings, to score so freely in tough conditions. He's in the form of his life."
Bell admitted he'd been "naive" in not making sure of his ground before he was run out off the last ball before tea on Sunday but Strauss hailed India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's move to reinstate the Warwickshire batsman as a great sporting gesture.
"He set a great example to myself and other captains if we find ourselves in similar circumstances."
Dhoni said of the Bell incident: "When we went back to the dressing room for tea, everything was ok but inside we were not feeling right about the incident.
"It's not about the laws or the spirit of the game, you want to feel good about the day you have spent on the field."
Reflecting on the match, Dhoni added: "The bowlers are doing a very good job but we need to put more runs on the board."
After back-to-back Tests, India have a chance to step off the international treadmill before the third Test starts at Edgbaston on August 10.
They will hope the injured trio of openers Virender Sehwag (shoulder) and Gautam Gambhir (elbow) and left-arm fast bowler Zaheer Khan (hamstring) can prove their fitness in a two-day practice match against Northamptonshire starting on Friday.
"Zaheer is having a few deliveries, we don't know exactly where we stand right now.
"Injuries happen and you have to manage with three bowlers, and all our part-timers are spinners.
"We'll see how Sehwag goes in the practice game, I have no official word but hopefully he will come and give us the strength we need."
Meanwhile a delighted Broad said: The wickets were nice, they were hard to come by in the first half of the season.
"I've found a fuller length and it's paid off, and I'll look to do that in the next couple of Tests.
"But I think the 60 (runs) when we were in trouble was pleasing as well."
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