There is only one word that aptly describes the First Test against New Zealand - Fantastic. From the first session to the last, it was riveting, enthralling, exciting and international cricket at its best. For five days, fortunes never stopped fluctuating until Andrew Strauss, Nasser Hussain and Graham Thorpe finally achieved Englandís fourth-best run chase of all time at Lordís.
I thought stand-in skipper Marcus Trescothick did a great job despite taking a little bit of stick from the Media for not taking the new ball on Saturday evening. It was therefore interesting to hear Kiwi skipper Stephen Flemming vindicate Tresís decision by admitting that it had actually hindered his side by stopping the scoring and allowing reverse swing to take the wickets. The right option had been taken and showed that the vibes on the field are usually better to follow than the ones from the Ďexpertsí in the stand. I thought debutant Strauss was brilliant in the first innings and even better in the second when the pressure was on - hanging on for a couple of hours while Hussain got himself in. Strauss may not be the first person to be run out by Nasser at Test level, but he may well be the last. I am not surprised that the former skipper is now considering retirement. It would be difficult to think that he could go out on a higher note than a match-winning century at Lordís, particularly since he finished it with three scintillating shots. Maybe it is better for him to go now and be remembered for that innings than to hang on and be recalled as the player who stuck around for too long. Whatever happens, young Strauss is likely to be around for a long time as we realise that not only is he special, but also England as a collective are developing into a world force. We have competition for places across the board and how long is it since we have been able to say that. Roll on Headingley and Trent Bridge because there is still a lot of cricket to be played before this series is determined.