Key steers England to victory as Lara clocks up 10,000 runs

ENGLAND captain Michael Vaughan paid tribute to Robert Key after his unbeaten 93 steered England to victory by seven wickets at Old Trafford.

Andrew Flintoff hit the winning run as England reached 231 for three to take a three-nil lead in the four Test series.

Vaughan said: “We knew we had to get in and see us home. Robert Key did fantastically well. But you have to give the West Indies credit as they have come under a lot of pressure.

Mentally for the batters to go in and chase those runs down was a real psychological test.”

Graham Thorpe came in when England were 40 for three in the first innings and his 114 was pivotal as they made 330. Vaughan said: “It typifies Thorpe - he came in and got us out of trouble.”

Opposite number Brian Lara could not hide his bitter disappointment at losing after the West Indies seemed to be inching towards victory - despite becoming the first West Indian to have scored 10,000 runs.

He said: “Yeah, we played very well and to get us to 395 was a tremendous effort. There were a couple of missed chances in their first innings, such as Thorpe.

“In the midst it is good but we have lost the match. To get the record is not what I wanted here. We are disappointed we did not go on and win the game.”

When his team’s spirit was applauded, the under-fire skipper said: “I wish I could get that from some ex-West Indians as well.”

Man-of-the-match Thorpe said: “I enjoyed it. It’s great playing with this bunch of lads. They have learnt quickly and keep my legs going. Hoggy (Matthew Hoggard) played exceptionally well and Fidel can bowl very quickly but I enjoyed it.

“Of course I will keep going. I am looking forward to the winter tour but disappointed to have broken my finger but we won and that is what matters. The lads played exceptionally well and Key was fantastic.”

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