Andrew Strauss hails historic England win

England cricket captain Andrew Strauss hailed his team’s remarkable performance as they sensationally won a draw from Australia on the final day of the first Ashes test.

“To win a draw of this magnitude in front of a full house is an amazing achievement, especially as we had to jig the order around a bit on the first morning, as Graham Onions got stuck in traffic on the way to the ground. Luckily Monty Panesar was down here visiting friends so we managed to rope him in at the last minute in order to make up the eleven. It was a bit touch-and-go at half past ten on Wednesday, I can tell you. I don’t think there’d have been room to reschedule the match had we not been able to put out a full team”, he said in his post-match interview.

England started confidently, posting a respectable total of 435, before skillfully managing to restrict the Australians to 674-6 and thereby forcing them to declare due to fatigue. It was a tactic the team were forced to adopt due to the benign nature of the Cardiff pitch: “I don’t know where their bowlers were putting the ball,” said Strauss, “but our bowlers tried every area of the pitch to find a bit of movement without any joy whatsoever. I remember at one point they were something like 474-4 and Stuart Broad’s mobile went off as he was running in to bowl to Clarke. He was at the end of his tether by this time and really wanted to get off the field and have a nice bath and a bite to eat, so he aborted his run-up to look at the message. It was from his dad, saying that he saw one of the aussie bowlers having some luck by bowling it short and to maybe give that a go – next thing you know he’s gone and got Clarke out with a beauty pitched halfway down the track.”

Strauss also reserved praise for Collingwood’s match-winning performance in the second innings: “After Kevin Pietersen was forced into giving his wicket away by some inspired gunbarrel-straight fast medium bowling, Collingwood stood firm and led the way despite suffering a recurrence of the itchy anus he’s been suffering with since March. To bat through that sort of distraction is nothing short of heroic in my book.”

Opposing captain Ricky Ponting was angered by what he believed were time-wasting tactics employed by England’s batsmen on the final afternoon: “Apparently Graeme Swann was a bit peckish, so we had to stop for a few minutes in order for him to text one of the backroom staff to bring him a chicken variety meal from KFC. Then about 20 minutes later we had to stop again so he could eat the thing. The annoying thing was that he had to take off his helmet and gloves so he could eat it, then someone had to bring out the special KFC cleaning wipe that had been left in the carrier bag, as it’s apparently the only thing that can get that type of grease off your hands, so they reckoned.

“I let that one go, though I was pretty pissed off by that point”, he continued. “And then, with about an hour left we had them at 233-9 and bloody James Anderson signalled to the dressing room that he wanted some sellotape. They brought it out to him and he wrapped it around his hand, sticky-side-out and proceeded to remove some bobbles from his shirt. Even the square leg umpire was grinning and rolling his eyes by this point, it was ridiculous. I mean, if that’s the way they want to play the game, then good luck to them. We’re just going to continue playing test cricket in the way it should be played – with good grace and respect for both the umpires and our opponents.”

The Second test starts on Thursday morning at Lords.


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