CARDIFF, Wales (Reuters) - Andrew Strauss praised his England team’s ruthless winning mentality after they turned what seemed like a certain draw in the first test against Sri Lanka on Monday into a remarkable victory.
England overcame the loss of about 130 overs in the match to still thrash Sri Lanka by an innings and 14 runs - their fourth innings victory in five tests.
The Sri Lankans, with three batsmen in their line-up averaging more than 50, capitulated to 82 all out in a fraction over two hours on the final evening of the match.
“We were keen to press for a victory but we thought it would be a long shot,” Strauss told reporters. “I was really impressed by the guys’ intensity because in that situation it is easy to just go through the motions.
“These are the things that test you as a side: how desperately do you want to win? I think we showed that we really wanted it and we got what we deserved.
“I was very impressed. We showed quite a lot of ruthlessness in Australia this winter,” he added in reference to their 3-1 Ashes victory. “And this was another good example of that.”
England’s win was more impressive as their leading pace bowler James Anderson, who sustained a side strain on Friday, was unable to bowl.
The injury will keep him out of the second test at Lord’s starting on Friday, Strauss said, but he is hopeful he can return for the final game in Southampton on June 16.
Man of the match Jonathan Trott, whose test average soared to 66.77 after compiling a painstaking 203, said he had observed a sense of ambition around the team as early as 2009, when he came into the side. “I had a taste of it when I played for Warwickshire in a warm-up game against England before the 2009 Ashes - you could see there was a unity about them then,” Trott said.
“Then when I played the fifth test I got a buzz from the atmosphere in the dressing room, you could tell there was an opportunity to create something quite special. We have our own targets as a team and we want to achieve them.
“We are very determined individuals that come together as a team and that can be quite powerful. We are on the right track but there is a lot of hard work to get where we want to.”
While Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan slated his batsmen for the defeat, he was reluctant to bestow the title of the world’s best team upon England just yet.
“They have been playing very good cricket the last few years, they have beaten Australia in Australia and they have beaten Australia here in England,” Dilshan said.
“But you can’t say from this performance here that they are the best team.
“We will see what happens in the next couple of matches.”