England learn fast from 'aberration'
Andrew Strauss was delighted to put Saturday’s defeat to Bangladesh behind him in emphatic fashion, after England secured a 2-1 NatWest Series win by a thumping 144-run margin at Edgbaston.
England lost for the first time to the Tigers at Bristol, ending a perfect record in all formats at the 21st time of asking.
Strauss had asked his side to win and win well in the third one-day international to put those demons to bed, and the England captain led the way with 154 at the top of the order.
That formed part of a 250-run stand with Jonathan Trott, who contributed 110 to the highest partnership in England’s one-day history, as the hosts wracked up 347 for seven.
Reflecting on the nature of the victory, Strauss said: “We all felt we had a point to prove after what happened in Bristol.
“We wanted to finish the series on a high and play like we had been recently, building a big partnership and I’m delighted two of us have got a hundred.
“We certainly felt we let ourselves down a bit at Bristol and we were very keen to come back strong in this game. The best way to do that is to lead from the front.”
Strauss, having reasserted England’s long-held dominance over their opponents, also felt able to mark the series-levelling defeat as a blip in what has been a largely successful run of six wins from nine ODIs this summer, including the series triumph over Australia.
“Everyone felt disappointed about what happened,” he said.
“But it was about learning lessons and moving on. It was a poor performance but an aberration.
“There are no excuses from our part, but (here) the guys prepared well.
“We’ve proved we’re a dangerous side who can beat anyone but we have got a problem over consistency.”
Strauss is now ready for some selection headaches in the future after admitting competition for one-day places is the toughest he can remember.
The XI that played all five matches in the 3-2 defeat of Australia are now joined by a handful of players vying for the shirt.
Ian Bell was recalled at Trent Bridge and duly shepherded England over the line with 84 not out, Trott made 204 runs in two outings this week and Ravi Bopara impressed yesterday with an unbeaten 16-ball 45 and four wickets.
In addition, Yorkshire seamer Ajmal Shahzad has put pressure on established new-ball pair James Anderson and Tim Bresnan.
“I don’t think we have had as many people challenging as we have now,” said Strauss.
“Things have clouded over a little because guys have come in and done so well, all of them saying ’this shouldn’t be a closed shop’.
“Moving forward we will need a squad of players because we can’t just rely on 11.
“We’ve got seven matches against Australia in the winter and then the World Cup and we’re going to need a squad of players.
“It’s a good thing we’ve got a lot of guys saying ’I’m ready to be picked, I’m dying to be picked’.”
With Bell also impressing after initially being left out of the first XI, Trott admitted the battle is on for top-order berths.
“It’s healthy to have competition for places,” said Trott.
“Obviously with Kevin Pietersen being injured I’ve got my chance and I am really happy I took it.
“I’ve had things go my way and not go my way but I kept believing in myself and this was really special.
“After Trent Bridge I felt it would be nice just to get a game and a few days ago I didn’t see myself sitting here having scored a hundred; it’s amazing.”
Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza offered no excuses as his side failed to match their historic achievements in the previous match.
Mortaza said: “It was (disappointing). We played poorly as a team.
“Strauss and Trott played beautifully. We need to bowl in the right areas but we didn’t do it.”
The Tigers now face games against Scotland and Ireland as they attempt to pick themselves up.
“We have to play well and win those matches,” Mortaza continued. “I am confident we will be back and confident we will be better than before.”