KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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Home England hold nerve to win Test
England overcame an early wobble at Lord's to cruise to a five-wicket victory in the opening Test against the West Indies.
Alastair Cook made 79 and Ian Bell 63 not out in a match-winning partnership of 132 after the hosts had lost Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen and stumbled to 57/4 in a frantic opening hour.
Kemar Roach, the pick of the West Indies seamers once again, bowled a rapid spell which accounted for Trott - excellently caught at second slip by Darren Sammy - before Pietersen was dismissed by Shannon Gabriel to leave the hosts reeling.
With fourth innings collapses against Pakistan in the UAE fresh in the memory there was more than a hint of nervousness among the England fans. But Cook and Bell took advantage of some loose bowling and attacking fields to reach 131-4 by Lunch; 121 runs and two wickets coming in a stunning session.
It killed the West Indies' hopes of a famous win and the world no.1 ranked side romped to victory in under an hour in the second session. Cook fell with just two needed for the win, but Bell hit the winning runs moments afterwards, clipping Marlon Samuels through mid wicket for four.
Ebb and flow
England began the final day with painful memories of collapses in Abu Dhabi this year and Jamaica in 2009 in the backs of their minds, and their first innings centurion Andrew Strauss - as well as nightwatchman James Anderson - already dismissed.
The first hour's play was always likely to be the West Indies' best chance of putting England under pressure and Roach in particular bowled with menace and searing pace from the Pavilion End.
After a couple of edges went to ground, he got the breakthrough with the wicket of Trott, very well caught by Darren Sammy at second slip off a thin edge - England's number four beaten for pace.
Kevin Pietersen inevitably attempted to counter attack, and after a few plays and missses he smacked the new bowler Shannon Gabriel to the mid-wicket boundary when he dropped one short.
It was the old West Indian one-two though from debutant Gabriel, who bowled another one next ball to which Pietersen feathered an edge on his attempted hook straight through to Dinesh Ramdin - 57/4.
Runs were coming quickly though, with attacking fields in place, and Alastair Cook in particular began to grow in confidence. He feasted on anything short, pulling Gabriel imperiously, as well as executing a number of pleasing checked front foot drives.
Bell continued where he left off with his first innings of 61 and as the ball lost its initial hardness, the scoring rattled along. By the time Cook passed his half century off just 78 balls England were clear of the danger and the West Indies left ruing a chance lost.
The 7,500 or so spectators who took advantage of £10 adult, £5 over 65s and free under 16s tickets enjoyed perambulation on the Lord's outfield at Lunch and the majority of England fans were safe in the knowledge that victory was imminent.
The sight of Marlon Samuels' part-time off-spin in operation from the Nursery End straight after the interval was the West Indies waving the white flag.
England were positive after Lunch, and despite Cook departing with the job nearly complete, the game was closed out in fine fashion.