London: An elated England skipper Andrew Strauss credited his bowlers for the massive 196-run win over India in the opening Test here, saying that it was a perfect performance against a formidable batting line-up.
"Over the two innings, it was as close to perfect bowling performance as it has been in the last two-three years which is saying a lot as we have bowled quite consistently well in this period," stated Strauss after England dismissed India for 286 and 261 in the two innings at Lord's.
"It was an outstanding performance by the whole attack. they showed if you work hard with consistent line and length you could have results on any track."
Strauss picked double centurion Kevin Pietersen for special praise.
"Our first innings was a magnificent performance. Kevin was responsible for it ? it was one of the best innings I have seen. He was smart enough against seamers, was prepared to graft and when the opportunity presented itself, he attacked. Others batted around him.
"It was critical that we survived the tricky first day and on the second day, after the second half it got easier. Jonathan Trott as well on the first morning of the Test gave a good example of his temperament and technique," he said.
Strauss claimed that this win has demonstrated that if the present team plays to its potential, it can beat any side.
"To be a number one side, you need to grab your opportunity and we did so very well today. We demonstrated when we play well, we are good enough."
Strauss was also full of praise for Stuart Broad.
"His position has lately been called to question. It was a big test of his character and Stuart showed immense quality. He bowled very well, his 70 runs were critical to the outcome, he showed his class. It was a tiny reminder to everyone what a great talent he is."
Man of the match Kevin Pietersen, who set the platform with his monumental knock, lauded the English bowlers.
"They were calm throughout. We have an analysis of our bowlers and the percentage (of good deliveries) was among their best," Pietersen said.
Strauss also made a mention of Chris Tremlett whose wicket of Dhoni in the last session was the final straw for India. "He (Tremlett) is the real deal. He definitely adds to our bowling."
India missed Zaheer Khan for most part of the match and due to a hamstring strain and both Pietersen and Strauss were quick to acknowledge that his absence cost the visitors dearly.
"Zaheer's absence was a critical loss to them. The other bowlers had to work really hard. Ishant bowled nearly 65 overs and he would be tired in the second Test," said Pietersen.
"It's never easy to lose your frontline bowler but then these are the cards you are dealt with sometimes," remarked Strauss.
Tendulkar, who was down with viral infection, was also far from his usual self in the middle.
"Sachin was trying to salvage a draw for India. He tried his hardest. But Anderson was good enough to get him out lbw. You never want to drop Sachin. Thankfully, Anderson saved me blushes."
Tendulkar also got a reprieve when umpire Billy Bowden ruled in his favour against a delivery that TV replays showed would have hit the stumps.
Since lbws are not up for review under the DRS in this series, England were left frustrated.
"We have always wanted to play with full DRS but since you play with the rules you start a series, you take the umpires' decision on the chin, whether good or bad."
Even as the interest among fans seems to have taken the rivalry between the two sides to a different level, Pietersen was not willing to put it at par with the Ashes.
"There is real hatred between England and Australia, that cricket is totally different. For the public though, the interest is similar," he said.