Strauss: England Have What It
Takes To Be Number 1
Featured News | 27th July 2011
Andrew Strauss believes England proved they have what it takes to be the number one side in the world after an "outstanding" showing against current top dogs India at Lord's.
England lit up the landmark 2000th Test with a fine team performance, declaring in both innings and bowling out a much-lauded batting line-up for under 300 twice to seal a 196-run victory.
There were standout performers throughout the ranks, with Kevin Pietersen (202 not out) and Matt Prior (103 not out) contributing crucial knocks and James Anderson's 5-65 on the final day capping a complete bowling performance.
The sides meet again at Nottingham's iconic Trent Bridge ground on Friday, with the home side knowing they can replace India at the top of the ICC rankings by winning the four-match series by two or more matches.
"To be number one you have to grab your opportunities and I think we did that very well in this game," Strauss said.
"It's the first of a four-match series but we've demonstrated that when we play well we're a match for anyone. Now we just have to play well again.
"We are aware that this is just the opening salvo in the series, but Lord's is a hard wicket as the game goes on and the performance was outstanding.
"They were five down at tea (on day five) and we had to work very hard to open up an end. Once we did that we finished them off brilliantly.
"Looking at our first innings total (474-8 declared), that was a magnificent performance too. Kevin was mainly responsible for that – it was one of the great innings I have seen since being involved in the side."
Meanwhile, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni admits his side cannot afford to gamble on Zaheer Khan if the seamer is not fully fit for Trent Bridge.
Left-armer Zaheer is India's top seamer and his new-ball battle against the England openers was thought to be key to the four-match series.
The 32-year-old won that duel convincingly on the first morning, removing both Strauss and Alastair Cook in a classy spell before breaking down with a hamstring strain.
Dhoni admitted the loss of Zaheer was critical and does not intend to risk the same thing happening again in Nottingham.
"I am not 100% sure if we will play Zaheer or not," he said.
"We don't want to risk anyone if that only increases the chances of him getting injured further. It is very important to get the guys fully fit.
"After Zaheer was injured it was quite difficult in terms of resources but I felt the fast bowlers did a very good job – Praveen (Kumar) bowled really well in the first innings and Ishant (Sharma) bowled well in the second innings. Both of them bowled close to 60 overs each in the Test."
If Zaheer is ruled out, India must choose between back-up bowlers Sreesanth and Munaf Patel.
Coach Duncan Fletcher showed a clear preference for pace during his time in charge of England, suggesting the brisker – but more unpredictable – Sreesanth could get the nod.
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