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Strauss takes defeat in his stride

Investec Test Series

Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Strauss, Paul Collingwood & James Anderson

Despite England's four-wicket defeat at the Brit Insurance Oval, Andrew Strauss, centre, stressed: "We've played a lot of good cricket this year so let's put everything in context"

Andrew Strauss says England can approach next week's Lord's decider against Pakistan in confident mood despite their third Test defeat.

Strauss' side were comfortable victors in the first two matches of the npower series but twice collapsed at the Brit Insurance Oval on the way to a four-wicket loss.

That broke a six-game winning streak in 2010, a run which Strauss feels says at least as much about his side as four disappointing days in London.

"We've played a lot of good cricket this year so let's put everything in context," urged the captain.

"We've got every right to feel very confident going to Lord's. We want to finish the season on a high and win it and everyone will be very motivated to do so.

"We do, though, have couple of things we need to make sure we don't repeat.

"There have been wickets that have done a bit this series - but with this wicket perhaps there were fewer excuses. We have to take that on the chin and not repeat our mistakes."

Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal has become an increasingly key figure for his side since being recalled in place of Danish Kaneria for the second Test at Edgbaston, but Strauss has backed England to improve against him.

Ajmal was central to the hosts' second-innings collapse, returning 4-71 and beating a succession of batsmen with his well-disguised ‘doosra’.

Asked how England planned to combat the 32-year-old's threat, Strauss said: "It's an individual thing, sometimes you pick him, sometimes you don't.

Saeed Ajmal & Stuart Broad

Saeed Ajmal's 'doosra' hastened England's second collapse, but Strauss said: "We should have been better in this game but the more we play Ajmal the better we'll be against him"

"Test cricket is about managing your game and if you haven't picked the ‘doosra’ you have to know what shots to be wary of playing, what the percentages are.

"The more you face someone the more you're clear on that. It's like Muttiah Muralitharan when he first came out with his ‘doosra’ and got a lot of wickets with it.

"The more you face it, the more you understand where you look to score off him.

"We should have been better in this game but the more we play Ajmal the better we'll be against him."

Strauss has been resolute in focusing on the task in hand this summer.

He reacted disinterestedly when told of Ricky Ponting's suggestion that Australia could claim the Ashes 5-0 last week and was similarly unmoved by suggestions that defeat yesterday could have some bearing on the winter.

"A lot of people talk about sending messages here and there or about saying things (to Australia) but I don't think that's the way we look at it," said Strauss.

"If we had won this series 4-0 that's not going to make it any more likely that we win that first Test against Australia.

"It's all about us playing as well as we can and in terms of the Ashes it's about us turning up in Brisbane and playing good cricket.

"What happens here has a fairly small effect on what happens there."

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