- England v West Indies, 2nd Test, Trent Bridge, 4th day
England take series with nine-wicket victory
England won their seventh successive home series as they made stately work of their target of 108 to win the second Test at Trent Bridge by nine wickets with more than a day to spare. Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook made the game safe in an opening stand of 89 after dismissing West Indies for 165 shortly after lunch on another sun-drunk day in Nottingham.
A hard-earned but ultimately convincing victory put England 2-0 up with Edgbaston to play, but they are under no illusions that the real challenge lies in wait later this summer with the visit of South Africa. West Indies restricted the first-innings deficit to 58, only for a crazed batting session on the third evening to prevent them contesting the Test keenly deep into the final day.
Strauss, unsurprisingly, was the more confident of England's openers after centuries in the first two Tests and three boundaries in an over, including two pulls, in Kemar Roach's third over, asserted that there would be no final twist. England's captain, though, did not quite see his side home, out for 41 as Marlon Samuels picked up a soft wicket when he drove a full ball to extra cover.
Apart from one other hairy moment for Strauss, on 34, when an edged cut against Darren Sammy flew close to the left hand of Denesh Ramdin, a motionless wicketkeeper, that was England's only blemish. They will now seriously consider resting James Anderson at Trent Bridge to give Steven Finn an opportunity ahead of the South Africa series.
West Indies' only prolonged resistance came from Samuels who, as he approached his fifty, told England's close catchers in relaxed enough fashion to shut up because he was going to make back-to-back centuries.
He finished unbeaten on 76 as predictably he ran out of partners, his final note of defiance before West Indies' innings ended to take 16 from an over from Graeme Swann, sallying down the pitch to strike him over long on three times, one of the two sixes leaving an elderly lady in a sun hat looking with some concern at a blow on the hand.
Samuels' reputation has grown throughout the series. He looked as if he had the capacity to bat through the innings, barring something special from an England bowler, but his choice was to seek miracles, farming the strike and attempting a counterattack, or to play with sensible enterprise and provide his team mates with a pointed batting lesson.
England removed Sammy and Roach in the morning session, a wicket apiece for Tim Bresnan and Anderson, as they brought the number of lbws to five in succession and six in all. The pitch remained sound for batting, but there was a little swing and seam about, the bounce was relatively low and West Indies had a tendency of wandering self-destructively across their stumps.
Sammy and Samuels represented West Indies' last hope at start of play. Their first-innings partnership dragged West Indies from 136 for 6 with a stand of 204 and the situation was even worse second time around as they emerged from the venerable Trent Bridge pavilion with the scoreboard at the Radcliffe Road end of the ground, soon to be demolished, showing 61 for 6.
West Indies were, in effect, 3 for 6, and required another double-century stand to shift assumptions that they were out of the match. The pitch was still good for batting, whatever the scoreboard might have suggested, and England had to work hard, with Strauss switching ends for his fast bowlers more than once, to achieve a breakthrough.
Sammy and Samuels have offered a wonderful contrast in this Test. Samuels has been lithe and perfectly poised, not moving around the crease much but doing so as if on casters; he bats with the serenity of a man lolling under a tree. Sammy has had none of his nimbleness, but his footwork has been determined, if cumbersome, as he has tried to avoid the errors of several of his team-mates in getting stuck on the crease; he swings his bat with the power of the lumberjack who has come to chop Samuels' tree down.
They built resistance in their own ways, Samuels inviting reveries by driving Stuart Broad dreamily through extra cover, Sammy intruding on any dreamlike state as he clunked Bresnan through point. he partnership survived until the first over after drinks, adding 49, at which point Bresnan, targeting the stumps insistently, gained his fourth successive lbw decision when Sammy was struck on the back leg. It was tight, but Sammy's review did not save him.
Roach was England's second wicket of the morning, lbw to Anderson as he shuffled across his stumps and the ball brushed his back leg. An England review overturned umpire Asad Rauf's decision.
Swann's inactivity during the morning was surprising, even allowing for the ability of England's pace attack to find just enough seam movement to keep their optimism high. Samuels's authority against him throughout the series might have been a contributory factor. He appeared immediately after lunch and took the wicket of Shillingford in his third over, a little bounce and drift enough to provide a catch for Anderson at slip.
Samuels' authority was undiminished. With nine wickets down, he took 16 from one over by Swann, two sixes and a four all over longon, but Anderson found the edge of Ravi Rampaul's limp bat to ensure there would be no more damage.
David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo