Pakistan A v England XI, Lahore, 1st day November 6, 2005

Strauss insists there is no need to panic



Andrew Strauss now has 16 runs in three innings - and is not alone in his struggles © Getty Images

Andrew Strauss insisted that it was not "panic stations", as England's batting flopped dramatically for the third innings in succession. Strauss, who now has three single-figure scores to his name for the tour, was the first man to fall as England slipped to 53 for 7 on the opening morning at Bagh-e-Jinnah, following similar collapses of 60 for 6 and 39 for 6 at Rawalpindi.

"It's hard to say what the problem is," Strauss admitted. "Certainly the wicket did a bit this morning, and sometimes it's the wickets that do a bit rather than a lot that cause people to end up nicking or missing. Of course, we're not overly happy with our batting performance, but there's no doubt that the wicket did assist the bowlers. Hopefully we'll do a better job tomorrow."

With just one more chance for match practice before the first Test at Multan next week, Strauss said that it was up to the players concerned to learn the lessons of the past three innings. "Each batsman individually has to look at how he's got out - is he at fault or has he got good deliveries, or is it a bit of both? We'll be working hard, both in the second innings and prior to the Test."

Strauss agreed that England's batting application has been lacking so far on the tour. "The wicket looked good - quite flat and quite hard - and we got lulled into thinking the ball was going to come on better than it did. Then suddenly we were three or four down, and behind the eight-ball. On the two wickets we've played on so far, it's been important to see off the new ball because it has got easier later on, as Trescothick showed [at Rawalpindi]. We need to learn from that, and approach things differently second time around."

At the back of England's minds is the suspicion that these wickets are completely different to what they can expect at Multan, and that these matches won't count for much when Danish Kaneria and Mushtaq Ahmed enter the scene. But Strauss warned against such complacency. "I think it would be dangerous to assume that the Test pitch will be flat. We've got to be ready for any wicket, and be able to react quickly to how the wicket starts off, and that's not something we've done so far. But it's not panic stations. We've got to keep working hard, and learn the lessons.

"I'd be lying if I said we didn't want to see flat pitches, especially as an opening batsman, but we've played in conditions similar to this in England and abroad, and we should be good enough to react and score more than 120. There's no reason why we can't score runs on these wickets, but it does take a little bit of luck and a lot of application."

Duncan Fletcher said in the build-up to the match that England needed to be careful of over-confidence, and Strauss agreed. "You play the ball as you see it and no batsman should be chastised for being positive, but you've got to decide what are your areas on any given wicket, and we've not done that as well as we might.

"But warm-ups are there for a reason. Of course it helps if you're feeling in good form when you walk out for a Test, but there's no doubt that the atmosphere and adrenalin will be flowing come that first Test match and it will be a different game of cricket."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo