Seam men strike the right chord

Glenn Moore hears from England's two four-wicket heroes at Old Trafford yesterday
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The Independent Online
Test cricket, like most sport, is played with the mind as much as with the body. At Old Trafford yesterday England rediscovered the mental strength they lacked in the third Test at Edgbaston and were deservedly rewarded.

Discipline was the key. Angus Fraser, who made the initial breakthrough and ended with 4 for 45, harked back to Kingston, Jamaica, not Edgbaston, for his inspiration.

Kingston was where Australia secured their memorable Test series victory against the West Indies in May and Fraser said: "I watched a lot of the Australian series and their bowling was very disciplined.

"I have noticed from my figures that they [the West Indian batsmen] score in fours, not singles. They are good players but they are not patient.

"They were cock-a-hoop after Edgbaston. I think they felt the series was there for the taking, they wanted to stamp their authority on us and dominate. It was up to us to prevent them from doing so and we bowled enough balls in the right area to do that."

As a consequence, noted Dominic Cork, who took 4 for 86, "they went for their shots and they will be disappointed with some of them."

The Edgbaston debacle was, inevitably, at the back of England's minds but, said Fraser, they tried to view it as "an aberration rather than an indication of our ability. If we play as well as we can we are as competitive as they are. We know we are capable of beating them as we did at Lord's. We all have a lot of pride in our performance, we all want to do well, both collectively and individually, every time we go there."

The other key factor, and one which should be noted at Lord's, is that both bowlers felt fresh after barely playing for two weeks. "I was raring to go," Fraser said. "It was nice to have a mid-season break."

Cork, who took special pride in opening the bowling for the first time for England, agreed. He added: "Now we have to bat well and get a lead. The longer we bat the more the wicket will deteriorate, which will help our spinners."

Given the balance of the side England would have batted if they had won the toss. The wicket, said Fraser, had some bounce but was still slow enough for batsmen to change their shots on occasion, even against the new ball.

With 12 wickets having already fallen, England expect a result. After yesterday they believe it can be in their favour.