We will bounce back - Strauss
Andrew Strauss underlined his great belief in England’s players after they suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of South Africa in the opening Investec Test at the Kia Oval.
After impressing with the bat on day one, Strauss’ men were comprehensively outplayed by their opponents, who racked up a first-innings lead of 252 by posting 637 for two declared.
England resumed this morning on 102 for four in their second dig and were subsequently bowled out for 240, giving South Africa victory by an innings and 12 runs and a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Strauss was naturally disappointed when addressing the media, but remains confident in his side’s ability to respond with an improved performance in the second Test at Headingley Carnegie.
“I have a great amount of belief in our players and I am sure we will bounce back next week,” said the captain.
“I am sure there are lessons for us to learn coming out of this Test match. There have to be and it is important in a three-Test series not to repeat those mistakes in the next game.
“We were outplayed in the last four days of the game, but I still think we will come back into the series. We have often played our best when we have come off a defeat and this is a good challenge for us.”
The hosts’ attack was made to toil for 189 overs as Hashim Amla became the first South African to register a Test triple hundred.
Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis also reached three figures for the Proteas and Strauss feels England should have done better when they came out to bat for a second time.
“Most of my regrets are that we did not come out with a draw,” he explained. “We should have done that and losing four wickets last night was a body blow for us.
“I suppose South Africa had a bit of a psychological advantage last night with us having been in the field for a long period of time. We did not react well enough to that and that leaves a slightly sour taste in the mouth.
“But you have got to give credit where it is due. South Africa took their chance in this game – they fought hard to stay in the game on day two; they got ahead of us and they didn’t let us back.
“I thought they played really well - Hashim Amla, in particular, was outstanding and he was well supported by Kallis and Smith.”
Strauss issued a vote of confidence in his bowlers, adding: “I have great belief in our bowling attack. They have shown it (their quality) time and again over the last couple of years and one game doesn’t change that.
“The wicket was at its most placid (when England bowled) - there’s no doubt about it. We couldn’t get the ball swinging either way, so it was always going to be hard work for us, but South Africa never gave us an end to bowl at. When we did take a wicket Kallis came in and got a hundred of his own.”
England know nothing less than victory will be enough at Headingley and Lord’s if they are to claim a series victory.
“We have two games and we have to win them both to win the series. I have huge confidence in our players to do that,” said Strauss.
“Everyone needs to go away and think about what they did in this Test match and steel themselves as much as possible to come and play some good hard cricket next week.”