Andrew Strauss wants no let-up after Pakistan win
by AFP

Ground:Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Scorecard:England v Pakistan
Player:AJ Strauss
Event:Pakistan in British Isles 2006

DateLine: 9th September 2006


England captain Andrew Strauss told his players not to drop their standards after they achieved a rare one-day victory which gave them a chance of squaring their series against Pakistan.


An eight-wicket win under the Trent Bridge floodlights left England 2-1 down in the five-match encounter heading into Sunday's series finale at Edgbaston and was their first success in any form of limited overs cricket against a major nation this home season.


England saw a whirlwind 75 not out late on from all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, boost Pakistan's total to 235 for eight in their 50 overs after three wickets on debut from left-arm spinner Michael Yardy had played a major role in the tourists' collapse to 165 for eight.


But despite the absence of experienced opening batsman Marcus Trescothick, dropped for the first time in his international career after the left-hander made himself unavailable for next month's Champions Trophy one-day tournament in India to recover from a stress-related illness, England cruised home.


Strauss (78) and Ian Bell (86 not out) put on 110 for the second-wicket after the early loss of new opener Ed Joyce before Kevin Pietersen's brisk unbeaten 41 helped England win with 22 balls to spare.


It was only England's fifth limited overs success in 25 matches, a worrying record heading into next year's World Cup in the Caribbean, and afterwards Strauss told reporters: "We've worked very hard to get this first win and now it's really important we build on it.


"We've got to do the things we did well today again at Edgbaston.


"I certainly don't think anyone will be taking their foot off the accelerator," he added.


"With the exception of our last few overs, it was excellent. We ... put them under pressure and were able to take wickets in the middle which is very important for one-day cricket.


"And then a clinical performance at the end there, keeping up with the rate and not losing early wickets. When you win it all seems quite simple."


And Strauss said it was vital for the team's future success that they didn't just rely in their established stars.


"Tres is a very important one-day player for England but, as we've found with all the injuries we've had over the last 12 months, you can't rely on one or two players.


"You've got to be able to get performances from all round the team. "Hopefully we can do that in India and hopefully this win will give us a bit of momentum."


Yardy, who took a miserly three for 24 from his maximum 10 overs -- a haul which included Mohammad Yousuf, Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal -- was understandably pleased.


"I'm loving it," said Yardy who also played in England's five-wicket Twenty20 defeat against Pakistan at Bristol last month.


The 25-year-old Sussex star's haul was all the more impressive as he'd only been bowling spin for under two years.


"October 2004, I switched. My seam bowling wasn't going anywhere so I thought I'd try spin and it's worked pretty well. I've had a great day today (Friday) but I'm not looking too far ahead."


And a delighted Strauss added: "He's come in and done a great job. He proved again he can transfer his county form into one-day international cricket which is not easy to do. To bowl like he did in his first game was very impressive."


Howver, the match might have taken a different course had a controversial incident early in England's innings gone Pakistan's way.


Strauss, on five, edged Mohammad Asif and opposing captain Inzamam-ul-Haq claimed a catch at first slip.


But the Middlesex left-hander was adamant the ball hadn't carried and stood his ground. Eventually the umpires called for replay assistance and, with pictures inconclusive, third umpire Ian Gould gave Strauss not out.


Inzamam, set to face ball-tampering and disrepute charges arising out of last month's unprecedented fourth Test forfeit at The Oval at a two-day hearing in London on September 27 and 28, was clearly unhappy.


"I turned round and saw it and it looked quite clearly it had bounced before Inzy," Strauss said. "But sometimes at slip you're not sure."


Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer said all replays should be shown to the crowd on the big screen rather than just the one suggesting Strauss was not out which led some spectators to boo Inzamam.


"When they showed the replays, there were two views of it. One looked not out, the other looked out.


"If they are going to show one view they should so the other on the screen or not show anything at all," former England batsman Woolmer told reporters after Friday's match.


"I think it was one of those catches where you think you've caught it. Because it's so close to the ground, you can't make a rational judgment."


However, he said he'd no problems with Strauss's decision to stay put.


"I think Strauss, if he thought it hit the ground, had every right to stay there quite frankly.


"One-day cricket can be a lottery but England were better than us."

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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