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West Indies v England 5th Test

Andrew Strauss
A thoughtful Strauss leaves the field at the close of play

England captain Andrew Strauss said he was happy with the timing of his declaration despite the team running out of time to beat the West Indies.

England held on until the lunch interval and the West Indies batted out time to reach 114-8 at the close.

"We played the day as well as we could have done," Strauss said. "To get so close to victory is a fantastic effort.

"It's bitterly disappointing to lose the series but in the last three Tests we played some excellent cricket."

The series defeat completes a miserable winter for England, who lost a two-Test series 1-0 in India late last year, and they have slipped to sixth in the Test rankings.

"It has been a pretty tricky 12 months for English cricket," Strauss said. "The players have been very supportive and I feel we're moving in the right direction, I know it's hard to stand here and say that after a series defeat, but we need to keep challenging ourselves to improve."

Looking back on the end of the series, the captain said: "Even when Jimmy Anderson took that eighth wicket we thought there was just enough time but we were always fighting against it.

"It was always going to be hard work to force the issue too much after the West Indies got level with us in the first innings.

"But the way the guys batted to get us in position to have 66 overs was outstanding, Kevin Pietersen showed what an outstanding talent he is and Matt Prior batted superbly as well.

"That gave us a slight opening and the guys bowled their hearts out again and we're pretty disgruntled because we got so close again."

He admitted it was "pretty heart-wrenching" to fall just short of victory, but said his first series as captain had been a valuable experience.

"I think we can take a lot of positives out of the series but we have to be realistic enough to know we didn't do enough to win it," he said.

"They were much tougher than when we played them two years ago. Hopefully we can have our revenge (when the West Indies visit England) - conditions will be slightly different in England in May."

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see also
Jonathan Agnew column
10 Mar 09 |  England
Windies hold on to clinch series
10 Mar 09 |  England
West Indies v England photos
11 Mar 09 |  Cricket
Panesar fined for over-appealing
10 Mar 09 |  England
Flintoff to rejoin England squad
10 Mar 09 |  England
England in West Indies 2009
10 Mar 09 |  England

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