x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Strauss calls for hosts to be 'more clinical'

The England captain says his side are capable of improvement even after their nine-wicket victory against West Indies saw them clinch the Test series.

Alastair Cook scored 43 not out to take England over the finish line as the hosts won the game by nine wickets and clinched the series 2-0 with a Test match still to come. Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images
Alastair Cook scored 43 not out to take England over the finish line as the hosts won the game by nine wickets and clinched the series 2-0 with a Test match still to come. Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

England clinch the series in Nottingham

Captain Sammy lays into batsmen, saying they must put a 'higher price on our wickets'

Andrew Strauss says England are still capable of improvement - despite seeing his side wrap up a 2-0 series win over the West Indies following a comfortable nine-wicket triumph in the second Test at Trent Bridge yesterday.

After Tim Bresnan and James Anderson took four wickets apiece to help dismiss the West Indies for 165 in their second-innings, the hosts were left chasing a target of 108 for victory in Nottingham.

Strauss (45) and Alastair Cook (43 not out) helped seal a result that was all but assured by Sunday night's bowling exploits.

Yet Strauss, the captain, perhaps alluding to when Marlon Samuels and Darren Sammy both scored centuries after the West Indies had been reduced to 133 for six on day one, believes his team can perform better.

"You always like to be a bit more clinical than you have been," Strauss told Sky Sports 1.

"We've had match-winning positions where we could have really finished the games earlier than we have.

"But being made to work hard, it makes it feel pretty good when you actually get over the line.

"We had that great session [on Sunday night] that put us in a very strong position to win today but we still had to go out and work hard to take those final wickets and knock off the runs."

Bresnan took three wickets for just 10 runs as the Windies slipped to 61 for six overnight although Marlon Samuels' unbeaten 76 yesterday ensured England did not have things all their own way.

"We're obviously delighted to get over the line but again it was quite hard work in this Test match," said Strauss.

"We'd gotten ourselves in position where we felt where we could really take this game by the scruff of the neck but all credit to the West Indies, they came back at us. We're just delighted to have won it, it's been a hot, hard four days, there's been some good performances from the lads and it's a well-earned victory."

With an unassailable lead guaranteed, England have the luxury of opting to rest some of their star bowlers, with series against Australia and South Africa to come later this summer.

Strauss added: "I think we're going to have to take stock over the next couple of days, see how the bowlers are feeling and then make a decision on what the best side for that third Test is.

"It's always an ongoing thing, trying to work out how much to play our bowlers, how much to play our players and we'll deal with that in the coming days."

Sammy, the West Indies captain, was left to bemoan his side's lack of concentration.

Not for the first time in this series, their top order failed to fire to handed the initiative to England.

Although Samuels added to his first innings 117 with an unbeaten 76, it was not enough as the West Indies crashed to a heavy defeat -much to the chagrin of Sammy.

"I think we just have to be more focused, continue working hard and put a higher price on our wickets," he said. "We did really well to put ourselves back in the game because on the end of the second day England were looking at a 200 lead but the bowlers fought back .

"We as a batting group have to really appreciate what the bowlers go out and do because we work really hard for the wickets we get against England and when it's our turn to bat we don't really put a high price on our wickets."

Sammy, who scored his first Test century in his side's first innings, acknowledged a lack of focus at crucial times in the game is a common problem and has not ruled out making changes for the third Test.

"It has been affecting us for the last year but still we managed to keep ourselves in the game," he added. "We really have to consider how we go about playing the cricket we've been playing for a while now, and we're not ready so something has to be done."

* Press Association