LONDON, May 9 – Australia-born Brendan Nash's 81 couldn't prevent England beating the West Indies by 10 wickets to win the first Test at Lord's here on Friday with more than two days to spare.Nash, together with Denesh Ramdin (61), did help prevent an innings defeat. The duo put on 143 for the sixth wicket – the only century partnership of the match – after the West Indies had been made to follow-on.
But by the time Nash was last man out, in a total of 256, England needed just 32 to win and so go 1-0 up in the series ahead of next week’s second and final Test at Durham’s Riverside ground.
England captain Andrew Strauss (14 not out), who ended the match with a boundary, and fellow left-handed opener Alastair Cook (also 14 not out) knocked the runs off in 41 balls in what was the first Test win by any side at Lord’s after a run of six successive draws.
Strauss said the performance had been excellent following some poor winter showings.
"We were pretty clinical in everything everything we did. Guys stood up when we needed them to," said Strauss, though he admitted that "I don’t think we’re going to get carried away" as he looked forward to more of the same in the second Test.
Visiting counterpart Chris Gayle praised England and admitted that his men dropped too many catches while "losing early wickets is always going to create pressure.
"We’ve got a lot of work to do," Gayle readily conceded.
The match was a triumph for several players.
New England No 3 Ravi Bopara made a Test-best 143 on his home debut with tailender Graeme Swann, who later sparked West Indies’ first innings collapse, weighing in with his best score at this level of 63 not out in what was also the off-spinner’s first Test on home soil.
After man of the match Swann had made the early inroads, debutant fast bowler Graham Onions took five for 38, including three wickets in an over, as the West Indies were bowled out for just 152 in reply to England’s first innings 377.
The second Test starts on Thursday.
At tea the West Indies were 225 for six. That meant the scores were level and England would have to bat again.
Nash was 67 not out after wicket-keeper Ramdin had been bowled by Stuart Broad shortly before the break.
But West Indies who’d lost wickets in clusters throughout the match, saw their next three batsmen depart in the space of 19 balls.
Ramdin should have been out for 46 when Onions dropped a one-handed caught and bowled chance.
It was a dose of reality for the 26-year-old Durham quick, whose otherwise dream Test debut had seen him take two wickets for four runs in six balls in the morning, to add to his first innings haul.
Onions in a first session halved to an hour by rain, sparked a collapse that saw the West Indies lose three wickets for nine runs in 12 balls on what was still a good batting pitch.
At lunch the tourists were 80 for five and facing a humiliating defeat.
Nash and Ramdin had both yet to get off the mark when play resumed and Nash was still on nought when an outside edge off James Anderson flew past the diving Swann at third slip.
Ramdin’s cut four off Onions raised the century stand before his reprieve next ball.
Another cut boundary off Onions took Ramdin to his sixth fifty in his 35th Test off 84 balls with 11 boundaries.
Nash followed him to the landmark soon afterwards with a commanding drive against Swann that saw him to a fourth fifty in his eighth Test.
The West Indies had survived the first 10 overs of the day when Onions, whose first innings haul included three wickets in an over, had Lendl Simmons (21) held behind square by Cook.
Then, for the second time in the match, Swann had Shivnarine Chanderpaul, currently ranked as the world’s number one batsman, out cheaply.
The left-hander, who never looked comfortable against the ball turning away from him, did at least avoid the indignity of a pair.
But he’d made just four when he pushed forward uncertainly against Swann and gave a bat-pad catch to Bopara at silly point.