London: England batsman Ian Bell had nothing to prove after a poor run of form in recent Test series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, captain Andrew Strauss said on Monday. Bell scored a composed unbeaten 63 to guide England to a five-wicket victory over West Indies in the first Test at Lord's following on from his knock of 61 in the first innings.
"Ian Bell didn't have anything to prove really because he has shown what a good player he is over a long period of time," Strauss told a news conference. "It was great to see Bell show what a good player he is and I thought he played a very classy innings."
Strauss also ended a poor run at Lord's, making 122 in the first innings to end an 18-month wait for a Test century and lay the platform for his team's victory. "You don't want to have to justify your place in the side," Strauss said. "Getting a hundred does get the monkey off my back to a certain extent and hopefully it will be a breakthrough for me mentally."
Strauss also praised opener Alastair Cook, who made 79 and shared a partnership of 132 with Bell which took England to the brink of victory. "One of our great strengths as a side is that we have players who play in different ways," he said.
"The situation was tailor-made for Alastair Cook and we all know his qualities." Man-of-the-match Stuart Broad will join a small group of players whose names appear on the three different honours boards at the home of cricket after claiming test-best bowling figures of 11 for 165.
The tall fast bowler also took seven wickets in the first innings and previously scored a century at Lord's. "It is an honour to get on all three boards but the most important thing was getting the victory," he said. "It is all about putting in a performance to help the team win. Now we need to focus on the different challenges of Trent Bridge."