Strauss silences the doubters
It seems absurd that Andrew Strauss's place in England's one-day line-up was being debated on the day he struck 126 to set-up a 2-0 series lead against Pakistan, but during the lunch interval of the second one-day international a panel of experts on TV selected their World Cup squads and Strauss wasn't in the 15.
Neither, for that matter, was Jonathan Trott, who is England's in-form batsman of the moment in all formats and added 146 with Strauss at Headingley. But it was the absence of the current captain that provoked debate as he notched up his fifth one-day international hundred and second in three matches. The panel's reasoning behind Strauss's omission is his lack of runs straight down the ground and how he will adapt on the slower pitches in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Yet since returning to the one-day side in early 2009 - at that time because there was no other choice following the messy end to Kevin Pietersen's captaincy stint - Strauss has averaged 42.03 in 32 matches compared to a career mark of 35.06. He knows he will be the man leading England at the World Cup and the numbers back up that decision.
"All I can do is do my talking with the bat and help England to win cricket matches," he said. "Other people can talk as much as they like, it's pretty irrelevant to me. I've worked very hard on trying to expand my game and it's important I can lead by example. I've been in good form all summer and that helps because things tend to come a bit more naturally. I'm very happy with my game and even more happy that we are continuing to win."
However, his innings wasn't without two moments of good fortune and Pakistan were convinced he'd been caught behind on 38 when Umar Gul nipped one back off the seam. Kamran Akmal held a fine catch but Billy Doctove turned down the appeal and a few words were exchanged between batsman and bowler. It led to Shahid Afridi calling for the introduction of the umpire review system for major one-day series.
"Definitely it would be good in matches like this and in big series like this," he said. "It is important that it's in cricket now. I know in Twenty20 you don't have much time but in one-dayers you would."
But on this occasion it wasn't a clear-cut decision even on replays so the UDRS may not have even overturned the on-field call and Strauss was very content about standing his ground. "I wasn't sure if it had hit my glove," he said. "Nothing has changed in cricket, the umpires are there to make a decision and they did that."
Strauss was given a much more obvious life on 23 when Mohammad Irfan, the seven-foot pace bowler, couldn't take a simple catch at short fine-leg. Irfan later limped off with cramp for the second match running and Afridi was far from impressed with his new recruit.
"I'm really disappointed with this guy," he said. "Cricket is not all about just batting and bowling, fielding is very important and maybe if he's good in the field I will give him a chance otherwise I'm not happy."
However, Pakistan don't have many other pace options in their squad. Wahab Riaz would be a controversial selection considering his links to the ongoing spot-betting allegations while Abdul Razzaq, who has been left out of the opening two matches, is due to undergo an MRI scan on his troublesome back in the next few days.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo