Stewart wants win for ton-up Strauss
Former England captain Alec Stewart believes the milestone of current incumbent Andrew Strauss bringing up his 100th Test can inspire a series-levelling victory over South Africa at Lord’s this week.
England head into the final Test of the Investec series 1-0 down and in danger of losing their hard-earned status as the world’s leading side in the longest form of the game.
Anything other than a win at HQ will see Graeme Smith’s side usurp them at the top of the International Cricket Council rankings.
As such, Stewart says this is no time to panic and has urged England to trust the methods that have reaped sustained benefits over recent years.
“They’re a great side,” he told ecb.co.uk. “They’re number one, not by luck, but by weight of performance and weight of results over the last two or three years.
“Why would you throw away something that’s worked for three years or so? All you need is to make sure that each individual takes on some personal responsibility to produce the right performance and that will ideally help the team get a win.
“They haven’t been allowed to play to the standards that have come to be expected of them because of the way South Africa have played, but there’s no reason why they can’t turn it around."
Stewart hopes the significance of the occasion on Middlesex opener Strauss’ home ground is not lost on his team-mates.
He added: “Andrew Strauss, it will be his hundredth Test match and you’d like to think the players will put in a performance to celebrate his individual achievements and - more importantly - to remain unbeaten in eight home series and remain number one in the world.
“England have got to play positive cricket, but they’ve got to stay in control of the situations.
"It’s no good being reckless, that won’t do them any good at all - do what they do well and make sure they do it better than the opposition.”