Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Strauss demands more from England

Andrew Strauss is calling for a major improvement from his England team as they bid to close out a famous series victory in South Africa.

Strauss' men go into the fourth and final Test with an unbeatable 1-0 lead against opponents who have made no secret of the fact they are prepared to gamble for a win which would square the score.

An innings victory in Durban, which came either side of two last-gasp draws with nine wickets down each time at Centurion and Newlands, is responsible for England's favourable position.

Strauss, however, is not glossing over the fact England got themselves into what looked a certain losing situation in Cape Town - before Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell and finally Graham Onions bailed them out on the last day.

"You'd have to go quite a long way to improve on our performance in Durban," Strauss said.
"But we certainly need to be better than we were in Cape Town.

"We had opportunities there we didn't take."
Confirmation from the home camp that a 'result' pitch is being prepared, on which pace bowlers are likely to be dominant, has been noted by Strauss.

But England will not fall into the trap of pre-judging the conditions, on hearsay.
"In all likelihood it isn't going to be a draw here this week," added the captain.

"So we need to get ahead of them, put them under pressure and make sure we go on and win the Test.

"But I think it's dangerous to have too many preconceptions about what the wicket is going to do.

"My previous experience here was that it offered a little bit for the bowlers. But like a lot of the wickets here, it's going to be quite new-ball orientated."

Strauss knows the battleground, more than ever, will be between top-order batsmen and 'gun' bowlers.

"If you can get over the new ball, I fully expect there to be some runs to be scored.
"But we need to be prepared. If the ball nibbles around a lot and offers the bowlers a lot, we've got to back our bowlers to be better than theirs."

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