Sri Lanka v England, 1st Test, Galle, 4th day March 29, 2012

Lack of runs 'frustrating' - Strauss


Andrew Strauss retains the belief he can return to being a force in Test cricket despite again failing to convert two starts in Galle as England slumped to a fourth straight defeat.

Strauss contributed 26 and 27 in England's two innings during their 75-run loss but insisted he feels in good form. He hasn't scored a Test hundred since Brisbane at the start of the 2010-11 Ashes - now 16 Tests ago - and the pressure has been increased by the manner of his dismissals. In the first innings he tried to sweep a delivery that was too full and in the second whipped Rangana Herath to short midwicket when trying to go over the top.

"At the moment it is frustrating me as much as anyone," he said. "I'm hitting the ball nicely and feel in good form but you're judged on your performances and I've not performed well enough. Hopefully I will put it right next week.

"Sometimes it goes with the territory and you go through periods where you can't kick on for whatever reason and then you get through it, release a barrier and you get some big scores in a row."

Strauss is now 35 but strongly resisted suggestions that time was catching up with his batting. "If you keep getting to 30 then I don't think it is a terminal decline, unless you're very unfit, which I don't think is the case with me," he said. "My job in the side is to score runs and I haven't done that as much as I would have liked over the last 12 months or so, but I want to put it right next week."

He has only been dropped once during his Test career and that was when he missed the previous tour of Sri Lanka in 2007, having failed to recover from a difficult 2006-07 Ashes series. This time his position comes with the added weight of the captaincy but, understandably midway through a series, talk of his future was off the agenda.

"Questions about my position are just not something I'm going to answer in the middle of the series. My focus is very much on winning the next game and it would be wrong to think of anything else."

Collectively, too, England continue to struggle and have posted 300 just once in four Tests this year. Again it was the first innings that proved really costly, slumping to 192 and conceding a 125-run lead to Sri Lanka. Strauss wanted to offer up something positive after Jonathan Trott's second-innings hundred gave the team hope, but it wasn't an easy task.

"It is hard to say we're making progress having lost four in a row," he said. "I think individually people's gameplans against spin have come on but we haven't showed it out in the middle. If you want to win Test matches you need to get runs on the board and we haven't done that. In the fourth innings you can understand the odd dismissal but we had less of an excuse in our first innings."

Another potential headache is an injury to Stuart Broad who was suffering from a tight right calf on the fourth day. He was clearly limping during his brief second innings but England are waiting to do a further assessment.

Broad entered the Test having picked up an injury to his left ankle slipping on the boundary rope before the first warm-up match. He was passed as fully fit for the match but was slightly below his best, bowling eight no-balls - one of which cost England the wicket of Prasanna Jayawardene on the third day when Sri Lanka's lead was a slightly more manageable 292.

Edited by Alan Gardner

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on March 31, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    Strauss has done exceptionally well with the talent he has. His natural ability is nowhere near that of some of his contemporaries and to have had the career that he has is a tribute to his willpower. At 35, he probably hasn't much time left, but when a player isn't as talented as, say, a Tendulkar, Ponting or Kallis it's hard to play at the top level for as long. I'd be surprised if he was still in the side in 2013, but he has taken a side that was in a mess in 2008 and turned it into a #1 side. That's a great legacy.

  • John on March 31, 2012, 8:56 GMT

    @saqskhan on (March 30 2012, 06:22 AM GMT) Would you like to refresh your memory on how England did against Australia the last time we played a test series at home against them - or away for that matter? Kind of makes your list irrelevant when you are that bad with the facts.please publish this time ESPN

  • Dummy4 on March 31, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    Whether win or lose, you are the No. 1 Gentleman in today's World Cricket ,.. Mr. Strauss...! I've seen so many times the way you behave in the field. Always you set examples for youngsters to learn. Everybody is having Rises and Falls in career. And I know that you bounce back very soon. We of Sri Lance always appreciare you.

  • Jon on March 30, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    Hahah as an England fan I find the comments of Indian fans hilarious. Yes, we have lost 4 games in a row. Yes we are struggling to come to terms with spin. But there is a huge difference between the manner in which we lost and the manner India lose. Bar one game against Pak the cricket has been competitive and we have thrown our positions of advantage away. India, gave up and leaked 600 + runs and then got skittled. There was zero enjoyment for the viewers watching the pitiful performances of your side. England are not the best side in the world, I agree SA are ahead, but please don't compare the away losses to those of India. Gutless comes to mind. So Kholi beat Pak in the Aisa cup, you lost to BD too. I completley acknowledge Eng shortcomings but please oh God, do not compare us to India.

  • ganesan on March 30, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    England are going through a phase what other teams in the world are facing at the moment. Play well at home but lose ground overseas. There's no escape to this vicious cycle unless someone applies 'mind over matter' to bring about a turnaround.

  • Aabhas on March 30, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    Captian and most of the batsmen are not performaing well. Team (world number 1) has lost 4 tests in a row. Sorry but they are just not good enough and a bigger embarrassment to the number one ranking than India were - India had atleast drawn series in Australia and South Africa and won in England, West Indies, Sri Lanka, New Zealand as part of their journey and while they were number 1. Strauss with an average of 41 has never been a great batsman anyway - maybe an over hyped one.

  • Michael on March 30, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    @ pitchcurator: to answer your question "When was the last time he [Strauss] made good scores in the sub-continent?", Strauss made a century in both innings in the first test in India in 2008. In fact, before this series he'd made three centuries in his last three tests "in the sub-continent" (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh). In contrast he has made 1 century in his last 25 tests in England. Clearly Strauss has had plenty of problems recently, but in his case those problems do not just happen "in the sub-continent".

  • Andrew on March 30, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    Something Witty - Hallelujah and thanks for your post about the minority of fellow Aussie "fans." The game should be played hard and it is. However, none of us can influence it from here. I am just staring to think that Strauss' time will soon be up. Unless he can show some form against SL or the Windies, the latter should be his swansong with Cook stepping up. He's more than ready and is likely to become one of England's (and cricket's) great players.

  • Marcio on March 30, 2012, 9:16 GMT

    @atul-kumar. Sorry, I'm not a Pom! I'm an Aussie. So bashing Eng does not hurt me. In fact we can sing that song in chorus, if u like LOL. Seriously, I was just giving credit to the Old Enemy where it was due.

  • John on March 30, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    @Something_Witty on (March 29 2012, 17:45 PM GMT) Absolutely full respect to you here. Unfortunately your words will fall on deaf ears as our responses have. I don't bother responding any more as I believe they are the same person and will never respond in turn. To be honest with you , being that Aus are statistically our biggest rivals , we only really get filth from these pair/this person and most Aussies are respectful cricket fans. Just one thing I will pick you up on , I fail to see the 10% of posts which do have factual foundation. Hope to speak again sometime. Please publish this time ESPN - this is a genuine post to a genuine cricket fan

  • No featured comments at the moment.