Strauss hails Pakistan display
Andrew Strauss paid gracious tribute to Pakistan after they secured a series victory over his England team with a dramatic 72-run triumph in Abu Dhabi.
England appeared well positioned to bounce back from their opening defeat in Dubai when they restricted Pakistan to 214 in their second innings, thanks largely to Monty Panesar’s six-wicket haul.
However, a target of 145 proved well beyond the reach of the tourists as they stumbled to 72 all out against Pakistan’s three-pronged spin attack. All 10 wickets fell to slow bowlers, Abdur Rehman’s 6-25 enough to earn him the man of the match award.
Strauss said: "I think there are a lot of people in the dressing room right now feeling very down and disappointed, but in circumstances like this it’s important to acknowledge how well Pakistan played and I thought they were outstanding today. They thoroughly deserve to have won the series.
"We came up short and that’s going to be disappointing for us, but you have got to congratulate Pakistan.
"They've been a good, close-knit unit - and they've got some very good spin bowlers. Ultimately, they've played better cricket than we did."
Asked about England’s poor display with the bat in the second innings, Strauss replied: "I wish I could explain it. Ultimately it was about very good bowling from both ends, applying pressure, making it hard for us to score and maybe we didn’t take as many good options as we should have done.
"We have been rolled over three times out of four, so the top order have got to take that on the chin and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
"We’ll have some regrets about that, but it was an outstanding game of cricket. I thought it was a fantastic Test match wicket, with something in it for both batsmen and bowlers."
For Strauss, the most frustrating part is that England appeared to have put themselves on course for victory.
"It's bitterly disappointing to lose a game you should have won," he said.
"These are the games that hurt the most, because you feel like you've done everything you can to win the game - and then you aren't able to nail the final nail in the coffin.
"I'd struggle to think of a loss that's hurt more than this. It was so disappointing after working so hard over the course of the game to put ourselves in a winning position.
"There were some outstanding performances in our side. Monty, in particular, coming back into the team, Stuart Broad and Alastair Cook as well."
"Having done all that hard work, you need to go on and complete the job - and we just didn't play well enough individually and collectively."
Strauss is now hoping England can deliver a much-improved display when the two teams return to Dubai for the third and final Test next week.
"All that remains for us to do now is to come back strong, show our resilience and show that we are better than what we have shown so far in the series," he said.
"You've got to experience both sides of the coin in life. We'd love to win every game we play; sometimes it doesn't work that way.
"We've got to find ways of fighting back, and making sure we can reconnect with all the good things we've done over the last couple of years."