Flower proud of England's nerve
Andy Flower has praised the "resolve and resilience" of his team after England's narrow victory in the first Investec Ashes Test at Trent Bridge.
Flower, the England team director, also defended the DRS despite some controversial dismissals during the Test and expressed the belief that such an entertaining start to the series would prove beneficial to the game as a whole.
"It was a sensational game," Flower said. "I'm very proud of our team, obviously, for the resolve and the resilience they showed. They held their nerves under pressure. It was a tense game for five days. It's obviously great to come out on top and we can go to Lord's with real confidence. But I must say both teams provided an outstanding game of Test match cricket.
"We're in the business of winning, so to win is outstanding. They can take a lot of confidence from the way they held themselves, especially as our lead was whittled away. They were good in breaks, they were good in the middle.
"Alastair Cook led them well; he showed his strength and calmness as a captain again, not to mention his catching ability. Jimmy Anderson, particularly, with the ball showed again his skill and class. I must also make mention of Ian Bell's innings. He obviously showed real skill, but also, I think more importantly, a real determination and courage out there in the middle to bat like he did.
"It's not only meaningful for the players. We had full crowds here every day and I'm sure they'll be like that through the rest of the series. For those people to create such a great atmosphere for the competitors to play in, but also for everyone on TV and radio hearing what was an amazing game of cricket and a special atmosphere, it's really great for the game of cricket that we have games of this type."
While there were some issues with umpiring decisions during the game - Flower approached the match referee, Ranjan Madugalle, for clarification of ICC protocols after Aleem Dar's not out decision for an leg before appeal against Jonathan Trott was overruled by the TV umpire, Marais Erasmus, despite a user error denying him use of the side-on Hot Spot image - Flower defended the system and insisted it helped the officials "get more decisions right than wrong."
"I think that using the review system is the correct way for international cricket to go, because we get more decisions right using it," Flower said. "I think that's very simple and very clear. The protocol for making those decisions must be adhered to. Of course, we will never get everything right but at least using the system we get more decisions right than wrong."
Flower also defended Stuart Broad, who chose not to walk despite a thick edge that the umpire Aleem Dar did not see. "Stuart Broad, like every other batsman in international cricket, has the right to wait for the umpire to make his decision," Flower said. "The umpire's job is to make those decisions."
Accepting that the first Test would have drained the players of both sides, Flower expressed his confidence in the "fitness" and "resilience" of his players and his belief that those qualities would serve them well with the scheduling of back-to-back Tests allowing them little time to rest and recover from their exertions.
"It was a Test match full of tension, but it was great fun to be involved in as well. I think the players from both sides will reflect on a sensational match to have been involved in, but yes, it will have taken something out of all the players involved. That's why our guys work so hard on their fitness and they are mentally resilient - they have shown that. Over a number of our Test match campaigns, they have come out on top because of that resilience and I expect them to show that resilience at Lord's in the second Test.
"What I must say is we never for a moment thought that this match or the series would be a walkover. I know we hear the odd thing in the media predicting some funny results, but we always knew this would be a tough battle. This is a really good example of a tough battle and I'm sure it will be a tough fight for the remainder of the series."
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo