Ashes win Strauss' lasting memory

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Andrew Strauss

Andrew Strauss insists England's Ashes triumph will remain his abiding memory of a tour that ended with defeat in the ODI series

England flew out of Australia today with skipper Andrew Strauss adamant that their historic Ashes success has not been tarnished by defeat in the one-day series.

England emphatically sealed the most coveted prize of their three-month tour Down Under when they beat Australia 3-1 in the Ashes.

It was the first time England had triumphed in Australia for 24 years and they did so with three innings victories.

In the month since that success was sealed in Sydney, however, England have been on the wrong end of a 6-1 Commonwealth Bank Series reverse.

Defeat was partly attributable to a prohibitive run of injuries, with six players forced to return home during the seven-match series as the effects of a long tour took hold.

England will arrive at Heathrow tomorrow with just a three-day turnaround before they fly out for the World Cup - and in need of making an urgent assessment of their injuries.

However, when asked if the end to the tour had tarnished the Ashes memory, Strauss said: "I don't think so.

"They are two different forms of the game and that Ashes victory was incredibly special and one that we'll savour forever.

"You talk to people out there and they say 'great tour' even though we just lost 6-1.

"We're disappointed with the one-day results but we'll get on to that plane - certainly those who were involved in the Ashes - and be very happy with what we've achieved."

Strauss admitted after yesterday's tour-ending 57-run defeat in Perth that he would have plenty to ponder on the long flight home as he and team director Andy Flower gather themselves for a World Cup campaign.

Most concerning is England's long list of injuries - headed by middle-order batsman Eoin Morgan, who was due to see a specialist today about a fractured finger.

Morgan is a doubt for the World Cup, which begins on February 19, after Strauss revealed the 24-year-old sustained a "substantial break" to the top of the middle finger on his left hand.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior's move down the order in the final game in Perth was merely to accommodate Steven Davies' presence in a depleted team, according to Strauss

Australia captain Ricky Ponting has been out for six weeks since he suffered a similar injury during the Ashes, and only returned to batting in the nets last week.

A similar timeframe would mean Morgan is unavailable for a large part of the six-week World Cup, although Strauss has hinted England may be willing to retain him in the squad in the hope of employing him in the latter stages.

Tim Bresnan (calf), Graeme Swann (back), Ajmal Shahzad (hamstring), Paul Collingwood (back) and Stuart Broad (stomach) are other members of the 15-man squad struggling with injury.

Strauss revealed he has spoken to Flower about potential candidates to be drafted into the squad, but was reticent to name players until the results of Morgan's tests are known.

"We have (spoken about replacements), but we have to see what the specialist says first," he said.

"There's no point in thinking too far ahead if he is available. We'll be sitting down with the selectors when we get back to England."

Strauss also played down suggestions that the decision to bat Matt Prior down the order in the defeat at the WACA represented a change in strategy ahead of the World Cup.

Prior was named in the World Cup squad ahead of fellow wicketkeeper Steven Davies and immediately promoted to the top of the order.

Prior has had mixed success in the role in Australia, making 99 runs at 19.8, and batted at six yesterday after England's injury crisis forced them to turn to Davies, who opened the batting.

But Strauss said the move had been dictated only because of the match situation, adding: "It was just a way of accommodating Davies at the top of the order.

"Matt's a very versatile cricketer; he's batted at six a lot before so we felt he would find it easier coming in against the spinners in the middle than Steve.

"Steve has done the majority of his batting at the top of the order. It's just the way we felt was the best chance of winning the game."

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