Strauss rues poor batting display
England captain Andrew Strauss admitted his side’s one-day batting performances must improve following confirmation of their NatWest Series defeat to Australia.
Strauss' team were comfortably defeated by Australia at Lord's, by seven wickets and with 38 balls unused, to go 4-0 down.
Once again it was their disappointing batting, combined this time with a ferocious fast-bowling display from Brett Lee, which shaped the result.
England were dismissed for 220, after winning the toss, on the back of Lee's 5-49, and face the prospect of a 7-0 series defeat.
“Ultimately it is about putting yourself in the game situation and doing what is right for the team. We haven't done that well enough so far,” said Strauss, following an 11th one-day defeat to Australia in 14 contests.
“A few of the guys are low on confidence at the moment and one-day cricket is not a game in which you can scratch around for too long. You have to play in a positive fashion.
"We have had some telling partnerships but no telling scores, so the batting group has to be better, simple as that.”
England's form is a concern given that the Champions Trophy begins in 10 days in South Africa.
“When one side gets on top and one lacks in confidence that can happen,” said Strauss. “There are three more games to try to build some momentum towards the Champions Trophy.
“The batsmen at some stage will come right - I have a lot of confidence in the batsmen we have got - hopefully sooner rather than later.
"In one-day cricket hundreds are the difference between getting a total which is very hard to chase and one that's attainable. We haven't done that as well as we should have done.”
For the second match in succession Strauss hit 63 but another good start went to waste and Lee demolished the middle and lower order with a succession of inswinging yorkers.
“Fair play to Brett Lee - he bowled exceptionally well and when he bowls those yorkers at 95 miles an hour it is always a challenge,” said Strauss. “Credit where it is due that was a sensational spell of bowling.”
Lee has taken out his frustration at missing the Ashes through injury on a fledgling England side missing Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen, as well as Paul Collingwood and James Anderson, both of whom were rested today.
“In the 29th-30th over when the ball starts tailing back in, then right at the end it’s a good time bowl,” said Lee, who clocked 96 miles per hour with one delivery.
“If you can get one through the defences and see stumps flying that’s why I keep playing cricket - there’s no better feeling.
"I know I’m in the team to try and bowl fast, there’s always talk about your age, but I’m feeling really fit, probably the fittest I’ve ever felt.
“I’m only 32 and I want to keep bowling in excess of 90mph for a long time yet, but we’ll wait and see what happens with the body.
"We all know from a medical and technical point of view that you don’t reach your best speeds until playing about two months of solid cricket.
“I want to keep increasing my speed as I have during this series, starting off 88mph and working up to 96mph.
"There’s no reason I can’t go faster but at the end of the day if you bowl 98mph and spray them everywhere it’s not very effective. There’s a happy medium, but I’d like to see my pace keep increasing and pushing 100mph.”
England will have to regroup for floodlit contests at Trent Bridge on Tuesday and Thursday, with Collingwood not returning until the final match at his home ground of Chester-le-Street.
“He has a number of niggles that could become concerns if he kept playing,” said Strauss. “It is not an ideal situation. He was looking a little bit exhausted which is why he has been pulled out for a time.
“It is important for myself and the coach to gauge where players are at because you don't want players getting injured and players burning out.”