Strauss hails historic win

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The Independent Online

England captain Andrew Strauss praised the stirring response his battle-weary side gave to their underwhelming Ashes series beginning after they recorded an historic win at Lord's today.

England channelled the momentum of the rearguard action in Cardiff last week into the second npower Test and completed their first win over Australia at the ground in 75 years.

Victory, by 115 runs, was sealed 20 minutes before lunch on the final day following an Andrew Flintoff-inspired morning.

With five wickets required on the fifth day to seal a 1-0 lead in the five-match campaign, Flintoff capped a splendid team display with a spell of 10-1-43-3.

Off-spinner Graeme Swann claimed the other two wickets to fall, to snuff out lingering hopes of Australia setting a new world-record Test chase of 522.

"It was pretty much the ideal response," said Strauss. "It was important we came out and started the game well. We'd been given that little bit of momentum from the way the guys played that final day in Cardiff and we needed to build on that.

"We came out well and put the Aussies under pressure for the first three-and-a-half days, but as is always a case in an Ashes Test they come back at you at some stage.

"To go 1-0 up in the series is all you can ask for and if we can continue playing that brand of consistent, positive cricket then we'll put them under pressure again and then it's just a case of us taking our chances."

Before they head to Edgbaston, the scene of next week's third Test, England will need to check on the fitness of star men Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen on their respective knee and Achilles/back problems.

Fast bowler Graham Onions also finished the Test with an elbow niggle.

"As I've said before, we've got to take stock," Strauss added, "We've got a week off so the guys can rest their bodies.

"The medical staff will be reviewing things in a few days time and it's hard to know exactly where we're going to be come the end of the week, but at this stage we're hopeful of having a fit 11 to pick from.

"KP was obviously hurting so the medical staff are going to have to see how he reacts to a few days' rest and recuperation.

"It's going to be feet up in front of a TV screen for him more than anything and then we'll have to play it by ear.

"The important thing for us going forward is that we have to be certain the 11 we choose for the Edgbaston Test are going to get through the game.

"But it's a great situation to be 1-0 up in a series and the guys played some top quality cricket this week."

Despite dominating the majority of the contest, England entered the final morning with Australia in the ascendancy after Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin shared a 185-run stand on the fourth evening.

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