26 May 2015

Speechless Cook hails 'brilliant' England victory

8:27 am on 26 May 2015

The England cricket captain Alastair Cook was almost speechless with delight after his side's 124 run victory over New Zealand on the fifth and final day of a gripping first test at Lord's.

England's Moeen Ali (left) celebrates catching New Zealand's Trent Boult to win the first Test at Lord's Cricket Ground.

England's Moeen Ali (left) celebrates catching New Zealand's Trent Boult to win the first Test at Lord's Cricket Ground. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

England bowled out the touring side for 220, taking the last wicket with less than 10 overs remaining to win a game that ebbed and flowed over five days.

The Black Caps last-wicket-pair of Matt Henry and Trent Boult battled valiantly for eight overs but were left needing to survive another 10 to salvage a draw and it ultimately proved too much as Boult was brilliantly caught at third man by a diving Moeen Ali off Stuart Broad.

"It's one of the best matches I've ever been involved in -- a great cricket wicket, two sides that gave their all and played as good cricket as they could play," Cook said at the presentation ceremony.

"I can't really speak. It was just a brilliant, brilliant day."

Despite the loss and final day capitulation the New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum was proud of his players.

"I thought we played our part in a tremendous test match," he said.

"Great credit to England. Even when we were dominating they kept going and they played an enterprising brand of cricket."

"The game was played in a tremendous spirit too. We got over 730 runs in the test and still lost by more than 100 runs. It's not every day that happens but we hold our heads high. It's such a fine line between success and failure."

The New Zealanders were left needing to post a new Lord's record to win the match after being set a target of 345 for victory.

The Black Caps run chase started in disastrous fashion with openers Martin Guptill and Tom Latham both dismissed for ducks without a run on the board.

BJ Watling and Corey Anderson managed half centuries but captain Brendon McCullum failed to trouble the scorers with New Zealand all out for 220, with Stuart Broad and Moen Ali picking up three wickets each.

The Black Caps bowled England out for 478 in their second innings after the hosts resumed on day five on 429 for 6.

It was a great way for England to start the summer ahead of the Ashes series against Australia following a turbulent few weeks off the pitch in which Peter Moores was sacked as coach and the Kevin Pietersen selection saga dominated headlines.

"Let's just enjoy today and what the guys have achieved after a rocky few weeks," said Cook who played a captain's knock of 162 in the second innings.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes was named man of the match after scoring the fastest test century at Lord's to go with a sparkling 92 in the first innings.

He also took the vital wickets of Kane Williamson and McCullum in successive balls today to swing the match England's way.

"He (Stokes) made another massive stride in his development. To score a hundred at Lord's and the way he played in both innings was tremendous for him," Cook said.

"His challenge will always be to work on his consistency but there is so much talent there and so much desire to win for England he'll only go from strength to strength. We've just got to keep backing him and he'll be a tremendous cricketer."

The Black Caps have now won just one test at Lord's in 17 attempts and remain without a test win in England since 1999.

The second and final test is in Leeds starting on Friday night.

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