Strauss measured in defeat
Captain Andrew Strauss insisted England have not become a bad side overnight after Pakistan completed a 3-0 series victory with a 71-run triumph in the final Test in Dubai.
Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal finished with four wickets apiece today as Strauss’ men, chasing 324 for an unlikely victory, were dismissed for 252.
England remain at the summit of the International Cricket Council Test rankings, yet could now lose that honour should South Africa whitewash New Zealand 3-0 in next month's series.
Questions will understandably be asked about England’s performance in the United Arab Emirates, but, at the post-match presentation in Dubai, Strauss said: “I’m a great believer that you don’t become a great side overnight and you don’t become a bad side overnight either.
“I’m a little bit surprised that we didn’t get bigger scores on the board, that is for sure. Over the three Test matches I suppose it was a consistent failure on our part.
“But you’ve got to give a huge amount of credit to Pakistan for the way they played through all three Test matches, primarily with the ball but also with the bat. When they got their noses ahead of the game, they didn’t allow us back in.”
Strauss acknowledges the challenge England now face in responding to a series whitewash, but retains faith in the players at his disposal.
“I’ve still got a lot of confidence in our side going forward, but clearly there are some lessons we need to learn,” said the skipper. “The obvious one is to get bigger scores on the board in this part of the world and to play the spin bowlers a little bit better.
“I think we’re a lot better at the end of the third Test than we were at the start of the first, but that’s too little, too late. We’ve got to go away and have a look at how we can improve things ahead of the one-day series coming up and the Test series in Sri Lanka as well.
“I think there’s some regret about how we played in the first Test match, where the tone for the series is set.
“I’ve got great faith in our players. I think we’ve got some outstanding cricketers, they’ve shown that time and time again, but in a way this is an eye-opener for us. Things don’t get easier, they get harder and we are going to have to work even harder.
“Every time you come across these sort of things in your career you find a way of overcoming them and that’s what we’ve got to do now.”
Despite England’s struggles in this series, Strauss believes a measured approach to selection must be retained ahead of England’s next Test assignment, in Sri Lanka in April.
“Hopefully we’ll come back before Sri Lanka and play a lot better out there,” said Strauss.
“I still believe the best players there are in England right at the moment are out here in Dubai.
“It’s going to take a little time for this to all sink in and for things to become clearer, as it always does. We haven’t been in the business of panic changes, or chopping and changing the side too much, so I don’t expect we’ll start now.”