Strauss targets clearer thinking
Andrew Strauss has pinpointed England’s decision-making under pressure for improvement at the World Cup after they suffered a 6-1 defeat in the Commonwealth Bank Series.
England’s main problem has been their failure to combine strong batting and bowling performances in the same game, with the exception of their win at Adelaide on Australia Day.
"There are a number of things we need to improve on," Strauss said.
"We had times when we bowled well and times when we batted well; we didn't do it when it mattered.
"Making sounder decisions under pressure is clearly something of vital importance in the World Cup because they are all high-pressure games. We didn't do that well enough in this series."
“There were three or four of the games at the halfway point we were in a very good position to win the game,” Strauss added. “To not come through and win more of those is very disappointing.”
Today it was Australia who posted an imposing first-innings score with 279 for seven, aided by 19 wides.
England slipped to 64 for five in the 15th over, a position from which a middle-order recovery was not enough to bring them close to victory as they were dismissed for 222 in 44 overs.
“We didn’t play particularly well today,” Strauss conceded. “There was a lot of wides with the ball in between some good stuff as well.
“I think we should have made a better fist of chasing that down. I don’t think that was an unattainable target on this wicket.
“To lose five wickets in the first 15 overs is criminal really when you’re chasing down a big score and from that moment on it was always going to be had to win the game.”
The wides were shared fairly evenly by an attack that included Liam Plunkett, making only his second England appearance since 2007, and Steven Finn, who made his ODI debut in this series.
Such statistics reflect the injuries that have ravaged the tourists’ attack in the last month, although Strauss could see a silver lining in this.
“One of the real benefits we’ve had in one-day cricket over the last couple of years is that we’ve had a very settled side and people have known their roles pretty well,” he observed.
“That was obviously disrupted in this series and we’ve had to blood some young guys who are inexperienced and they will have gained a lot from it.
“Moving forward there’s a lot to take out of this series but we’re clearly disappointed with the way it ended.”
England’s most pressing injury concern is to a batsman, Eoin Morgan, who missed today’s encounter with a broken finger.
Morgan became the sixth tourist to leave the one-day leg of the trip after being diagnosed with the fracture to the middle finger on his left hand.
"He's going to see a specialist tomorrow to decide what the best course of action is to remedy that situation," Strauss revealed.
"There's obviously got be a chance that he's not going to feature (at the World Cup).
"We're going to have to think through - at what stage is the cut-off point the guy needs to be replaced.
"We're pretty confident the other guys are going to be fit, but Eoin Morgan we are not sure of at this stage.
"It's a big loss for us potentially. He is particularly important in those conditions as well, being able to clear the ropes in the manner that he does.
"Hopefully there will be an opportunity for him to play. If he isn't available someone is going to have to fill those shoes."
Morgan suffered the injury in England’s sole victory and, underestimating its seriousness, played in the next two games.
"He just thought it was bruised. He got on with it, but just when he was thinking it would start feeling better it got worse and it was restricting his play," Strauss added.
"They went for an x-ray and I think everyone was reasonably surprised to see it was quite a substantial fracture."
Strauss and his team-mates will fly home from Perth tomorrow evening and the skipper knows he has plenty to consider before heading to the World Cup.
"The first thing to ponder is who is fit and who is not fit," he said. "That's going to be important to see exactly where we are and have a clear idea of who our best 11 players available are.
"We've got to think about what we haven't done well on this tour and we've got to think about how to adapt our game to the conditions in the sub-continent pretty quickly.
"There is a few things for us to think about. I'm still feel very confident we can do well out there but we need to play in a different manner to how we have over here."