Strauss bemoans batting failings

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Jonathan Trott and Shane Watson

Shane Watson takes a smart return catch to account for Ian Bell. "There were too many soft dismissals," Andrew Strauss admitted

England's batsmen once again bore the brunt of the blame after Australia opened up a 3-0 lead in the one-day series with a four-wicket win in Sydney.

Having been bowled out for just 184 in Hobart, the tourists managed a modest 214 at the SCG despite Jonathan Trott’s unbeaten 84.

It was a modest total overhauled by Australia with four overs to spare, thanks to 54 from Brad Haddin at the top of the order and David Hussey’s well-judged unbeaten 68 after a minor wobble.

“It’s not the best, certainly not with the bat,” Strauss said in summing up England’s performance.

“Our bowling and fielding were a step up from where we’ve been before, so I was pleased with that, but when you’re scoring 215 you’re not going to win too many games.

“There were too many soft dismissals again. Jonathan Trott did a good job batting through the innings but we needed someone to bat there with him.

“He played really well. It was a very solid performance from him and if we had someone else at the other end playing the big shots we would have got a pretty big score.

“Our run-rate through the innings was pretty good but we lost too many wickets again.”

Asked if England were starting to play with fear, Strauss added: “I hope not because that’s to be avoided like the plague.

“I still want us to play positive, aggressive, attacking cricket. That’s the only way we are going to succeed in Australia or in the World Cup.

“A couple of guys aren’t in brilliant nick at the moment and they need to get themselves back into form, but I don’t want too many of our batsmen scratching their heads wondering whether they should play a shot or not.

Jonathan Trott

Jonathan Trott won praise for his determined unbeaten 84, but captain Strauss lamented England's failure to support him with the bat

“I want them to play with freedom. If we keep doing that and keep believing then I think things will turn around.

“We can’t let our shoulders drop. There’s no point us crying into our Cornflakes tomorrow morning. We have to get ourselves up, move on to Adelaide and play better.”

Wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior made a second successive duck at the top of the order following his return to the side in place of Steven Davies, but Strauss insists he will get another chance at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday.

“I don’t think (it will change); I think I will be opening with him,” Strauss said. “He has got out in the first over a couple of times - that can happen against the new ball.

“We’ve got to give him an opportunity to get used to the role again. We’re still very happy with his capabilities at the top of the order.

“He’s done very well in the field, but obviously we need some contributions from him at the top of the order.”

Strauss took heart from England’s valiant display with the ball, especially given the absence of four members of their first-choice attack.

However, he admits the medical staff “have been kept pretty busy” by a growing injury list that now features Tim Bresnan and Kevin Pietersen.

Bresnan was today ruled out of the remainder of the series with a torn calf, while a groin injury kept Pietersen out of action today.

In addition, Graeme Swann is recovering a sore knee; Stuart Broad, though back in Australia, is sidelined by a stomach injury; and James Anderson was rested for the first three ODIs.

“Tim Bresnan won’t play any more, which is disappointing because he has been doing a really good job for us,” said Strauss.

“On the plus side, Jimmy comes back into contention again having arrived back. He’s done quite a bit of bowling today, so if he comes through that okay there’s a chance he’ll play on Wednesday.

“KP’s groin is something we’re going to have to manage carefully. Hopefully he’ll be alright for Wednesday."

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Brad Haddin & Brett Lee

Brad Haddin and Brett Lee celebrate Strauss' run-out following an unnecessary mix-up with Trott

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