A long day at The Oval, a longer night in Piccadilly

It was a long summer, a long 31 years if truth be told. But at last England have beaten West Indies in a Test series. It was an unforgettable experience. Nobody could have predicted that we would win on the fifth day in front of a capacity crowd cheering us to the hilt.

It was a long summer, a long 31 years if truth be told. But at last England have beaten West Indies in a Test series. It was an unforgettable experience. Nobody could have predicted that we would win on the fifth day in front of a capacity crowd cheering us to the hilt.

If only I could have been on the Oval pitch when the coup de grâce was applied and Dominic Cork won a clear lbw decision against Courtney Walsh. I had limped off earlier in the afternoon, unable to bowl as the climax approached.

Before play started and again at lunchtime on Monday I had a local anaesthetic to relieve the pain in my left ankle. There has been some soft tendon trouble there for a while and it has been aggravated slightly by weeks of work. The footholes, days old by now, made it sorer still.

In the early afternoon Nasser Hussain called me back into the attack. I had bowled two earlier spells of 14 overs and six overs and taken two wickets in each and the discomfort was minimal. But this time was different. I had to put my left foot down gingerly in the delivery stride. The speedo showed I was bowling at 75mph when my usual rate is above 80mph.

West Indies were eight down, I told Nasser I couldn't continue. He told me to leave the field but to make sure I was back on for the finale. Unfortunately, I failed to make it. I had my boots off in the dressing-room when the rest of the team ran in,ecstatic at the achievement.

In reality, there was no chance of West Indies getting the 374 runs they needed to win in the final innings. But England could not be sure of that. They had set off at an express rate the evening before. We needed early wickets to stop their gallop, and we got them. The key to their residual hopes was Brian Lara. When he was in with Jimmy Adams he tried to dominate as only he can. When I persuaded Adams to flick one off his legs to a backward square-leg, who had just been moved finer for that purpose, Lara was joined by Ramnaresh Sarwan.

This boy can bat. He has an array of strokes and with the lack of fear of youth he played many of them. Nasser has said that he started to have a few distinctly queasy feelings as the stand developed. I had some butterflies as well, but they never submerged my belief that West Indies had too much to do.

Lara has succeeded in his attempts to dominate me in the past and a couple of times now I unintentionally dropped short and he swivelled. Sure I have got him out in the past - but one of those occasions he had made 375. The balance has shifted now, though, and if I had to earmark my key wicket of theseries I would say it was Lara's in the second innings at Lord's when he failed to cope with extra bounce and fended to gully.

Nasser is a fine captain to bowl for. He will always have an encouraging pat but he hates having to run from mid-off to chase a drive if I have bowled a half-volley - and he lets me know that he hates it. Lara played some excellent strokes but it isn't like it used to be, and I know it.

Sarwan was run out in the sort of situation that can arise with the pressure on to go for runs. All then revolved around Lara. When he was out leg before there was some criticism that the ball had pitched outside leg stump. If he was unfortunate, it was again redressing the balance. England's bowlers have been unlucky throughout this series in having appeals turned down.

Darren Gough was rightly made England's man of the series. He has performed wonderfully and I feel our opening partnership is now cemented. It's four decades since an opening pair went through a whole summer together and we now have 12 Tests in a row. We are different personalities - he's a jokester, always bubbly, I'm far more down to earth - but we have always got on well.

The system of central contracts had helped us both. I have been much fresher before the start of every Test and I'm afraid the counties have got to learn to accept it with good grace. Of course, I like bowling for Somerset, but England simply has to be the priority.

The team celebrated together, first in a Chelsea restaurant, later in a bar in Piccadilly Circus. Matt Dawson, the England rugby player, joined us. People drifted off individually. I stayed until 2am, which is extremely late for me. Reflected the nature of the feat I suppose.

I am having an ultra-sound scan on the ankle to check the precise damage. But I don't envisage any problem. A month's rest should be sufficient and then we regroup for a long winter. We can hardly wait.

Andy Caddick will be writing for the Independent on Sunday during the tour of Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot