Pakistan A v England XI, Lahore December 7, 2005

Strauss looks to positives after another defeat



Paul Collingwood was a positive for England as he continued his good form © Getty Images
Andrew Strauss was determined to look at the positives after England slumped to their fourth defeat in five matches, this time a one-wicket loss in their warm-up fixture against Pakistan A at Bagh-e-Jinnah.

"It's never ideal to lose, and the warm-up before the Test series showed that," said Strauss, who stood in as England's captain in the absence of Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick. "But there were some positives from today's performance. That's encouraging, because there are a lot of the guys who've been sitting on the sidelines for a long time, and it's good for them to get out to the middle."

Strauss singled out four players for particular praise. "Matt Prior did very well at the top of the order, Colly [Paul Collingwood] continued his good form, and Liam Plunkett and Jimmy Anderson were very impressive.

"But it's important to realise that three of our biggest players weren't playing today," he said, referring to the absence of Trescothick, Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison, all of whom sat out the match after their efforts in the Test series. "We'll have a stronger side on Saturday, no doubt."

Strauss himself wasn't quite at his best, having only just returned from England where he attended the birth of his first son, Samuel. "I'm a little jaded," he admitted, "but I always enjoy captaining a side. As much as anything today it kept me awake!

"I haven't pick up a bat for ten days," he added, after being dismissed for just 5. "I need to use the practice time constructively, spend some time with Fletch [Duncan Fletcher] and hit my straps on Saturday. Today was tricky, coming straight off the plane, but after a couple of days' practice there's no reason I can't get runs."

Strauss admitted that it was England's batting, once again, that let them down in this match. "We were probably 15-20 runs short today, but that comes with rustiness and not having played one-day cricket for a long time. We'll look back on the game tomorrow, and see where we could have improved."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo