NOTTINGHAM, England, August 2 – England captain Andrew Strauss insisted his team could become a better side after thrashing India by the huge margin of 319 runs in the second Test here at Trent Bridge.
Victory, achieved with more than a day to spare, was a record in terms of runs in all 101 England-India Tests and left Strauss’s side 2-0 up in this four-match series.
It also left England on course to replace India at the top of the ICC’s Test Championship table — something they will achieve if they win the third Test at Edgbaston starting on August 10.
England, however, did not have things all their own way after losing the toss at Trent Bridge and being inserted in seamer-friendly conditions.
They 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 then produced a sublime 159, an innings whose quality threatened to be overshadowed by a lapse of concentration that saw him run out, then sportingly reinstated by India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, after he carelessly left his crease off the last ball before tea on Sunday.
England’s imposing second innings 544 also saw Tim Bresnan, in for the injured Chris Tremlett, contribute 90 down the order before the seamer took a Test-best five for 48 as India, chasing a record 478 to win, were skittled out for 158 on Monday.
“We had to dig very deep — we were twice in a position where India looked very much like favourites to win the game — and we dragged it round,” Strauss told reporters.
“There were some outstanding individual performances.
“There was Stuart, both with the ball and the bat in the first innings — to rescue our innings, and then turn the match on its head with the second new ball.
“But also Ian Bell and Tim Bresnan with the second-innings batting gave us breathing space.
“One of the real measures of a good side is whether they are able to come back from difficult circumstances.
“In the last two Test matches we’ve had to dig pretty deep, and it gives me a lot of pride to see guys putting their hands up and delivering when it matters,” said Strauss, who also led England to a 196-run series-opening win at his Lord’s home ground.
“It also fills me with a lot of confidence for the future that we can go on and become a better side,” said the Ashes-winning skipper.
Meanwhile an elated Broad, whose place had been called into question before the first Test, said: “It helps getting a hat-trick on your home ground which is something I will look back on with a lot of pleasure.”
“I have looked to bowl a fuller length and the ball has swung for me.
“It’s nice when cricket is going your way for a little while but it makes it even more special when you have had a pretty tough time over the last couple of months.”
Broad, the son of ex-England opener Chris, added: “We try to take the game by the scruff of the neck and we’ll be looking to do the same at Edgbaston.”
As well as Tremlett (hamstring), England also have fitness concerns over batsman Jonathan Trott, who injured his shoulder fielding at Trent Bridge.
“We are not too sure on the injuries to both Trott and Tremlett at this stage but it’s fantastic to see Stuart scoring runs as well as taking wickets and Tim Bresnan showing his all-round capabilities as well,” said Strauss.