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April 12, 2006
Andrew Strauss did much right on the day, scoring 74 and leading England to their first ODI victory of the series, but was typically modest and handed the credit to his bowlers. "I thought our seamers - James Anderson, Liam Plunkett and Sajid Mahmood - did a very good job," said Strauss. "They were really hitting the deck hard in tough conditions, they bowled exceptionally well. I would like to look positively and believe that it was good bowling rather than bad batting from India that kept them down to 227.
"The three pacers held the key to why we won today. They did a great job. To get India five down pretty early in the piece on a flat track and in difficult conditions was a fantastic effort. This was the quicket track of the series in terms of pace and bounce, and it probably suited our bowlers more than it suited the Indians. But if you went a little bit off line, you were going for runs. That's why what our bowlers did was exceptional. For three inexperienced bowlers to bowl as well as they did today, they deserve all the credit."
Although Strauss first batted with a runner and then had to leave the field because of cramps he hoped to be fully fit for the last one-dayer at Indore. "Towards the end of my innings, every shot I played, I was cramping up. It was wisest for everyone at that stage if I left the field. The conditions were pretty tough. Kochi came pretty close to this, but we were batting first there, so it was a little different. The bowlers were also struggling towards the end of their spells with cramps. All of that together combined to make it a very satisfying win on a largely flat wicket."
When pressed about the fact that the heat conditions could have made it 'dangerous' to play cricket Strauss said, "I wouldn't call it dangerous. There were a few guys who were cramping up, but that's where the support staff comes in. You go on drips and you get high carb drinks. But I wouldn't call it dangerous. There were 22 players out on the park and at the end of the game, none of them was injured. That tells a tale in itself."
Strauss also said he preferred to look at this match as one that England won through their bowling rather than one that India lost. At the same time he complimented Mahendra Singh Dhoni on the manner in which he batted. "Right through this series, Dhoni has shown how versatile he is as a batsman. He can come in and spank the ball if the situation so demands, or he can come up the order and knock it around like he did today. It was a very good knock."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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