Andrew Strauss said England had put up a performance worthy of the No. 1 side in the world at Lord's on Monday. "To be the No. 1 side in the world, you need to grab opportunities and that's what we did very well here," the skipper said after leading England to a 196-run win in the first Test against India on Monday.
Ranked No. 3, England are aiming to win the series by a two-game margin to take over the No. 1 spot from India.
Strauss had thrown down the gauntlet ahead of the first Test, claiming his team was already No. 1 in people's opinion.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni said injury to his strike bowler, Zaheer Khan, was a setback from which his team couldn't recover. "I think it became tough to manage the bowlers. With only three bowlers, it was very difficult to manoeuvre them. I didn't have too many options, like if we had Yuvraj Singh or Virender Sehwag, we could have asked them to chip in. But despite that I am happy the way our fast bowlers performed. It was a big task (in the absence of Zaheer) and they did a very good job," said Dhoni.
India's batting also faced flak for not being able to last the final day as the Lord's wicket is said to get better on the fourth and fifth days. "We didn't play at our regular batting numbers and that upset our game. (Gautam) Gambhir and (Sachin) Tendulkar couldn't bat at their usual positions. The wicket was also not as steady as in 2007. Today, it was playing up and down and it was difficult to judge the balls pitched at three-fourth lengths," said the India skipper.
Man-of-the-match, Kevin Pietersen, agreed that Zaheer's injury was a big advantage for England. "Without Zaheer, the other bowlers had to work really hard. They (Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma) would be really tired and they should feel it in the second Test," said Pietersen.
"It's never easy when you are without your frontline bowlers," said Strauss. The England captain said it was only half the job done in their quest for No. 1 spot, and the key would be to build on the momentum. "It's only the opening salvo in the series and we can't get satisfied," he said.