Strauss rues lack of seam options
Andrew Strauss has admitted England fielded the wrong bowling attack in Hobart but accepted that his team should still have been able to chase down a modest target to level the one-day series. Instead they subsided to 184 all out despite Australia losing two frontline bowlers to injury, and now face a tough task to get back into the series.
England twice had the home side on the ropes when they batted. Firstly the new ball reduced them to 4 for 33 after Strauss inserted Australia following heavy morning rain. However, he lacked a fourth seamer to ram home the advantage - instead having to use Jonathan Trott, James Tredwell and Michael Yardy - and the problem occurred again towards the end of the innings when Australia lifted themselves from 8 for 142 through a record ninth-wicket stand of 88 between Shaun Marsh and Doug Bollinger.
"In hindsight we should probably have got the fourth seamer in our side, that was a mistake," Strauss said. "We probably didn't think it was going to be quite as slow and stodgy as it was. A [Luke] Wright or a [Chris] Woakes would have been a good addition to side, but things are always clearer at the end of the game than the start."
The first sign that Strauss was a frontline quick short came when Trott and Tredwell found themselves operating in tandem by 20th over with Australia still 4 for 56. "That's the problem with only three seamers, we were probably a little light of a fourth seamer to bowl at that stage," Strauss said. "The biggest regret is that Doug Bollinger got 30 and put on all those runs with Marsh."
Still, England should have been capable of chasing 231 but, as at the MCG where they managed to post 294, too many wickets were handed to the opposition rather than bowlers having to work for them. Trott pulled a long hop to midwicket, Ian Bell carved to backward point and Michael Yardy was run out. Eoin Morgan was also caught as he tried to clear mid-on having opted to take the Powerplay.
"It was a very poor day, there's no doubt about it," he said. "When you are chasing that score you need one guy to get 80-odd and none of us did that. There we lots of 20s and 30s, too many early wickets and ultimately it wasn't good.
"A lot of us made poor decisions today. There were quite a few soft dismissals," Strauss added. "The one thing I'd say is that we aren't in the business of handing out huge recriminations to our batsmen. We want to see them play positively, that's the most important thing for us. It's worked well for us in the past and that last thing we want to see is batsmen going into their shells. In that sense it won't be all doom and gloom, we just have to play smart cricket and we didn't do enough of that today."
England are also able to point to the absence of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann. The two quick bowlers are rejoining the squad in Sydney, but Broad isn't expected to play during the series and Swann is out for up to two weeks. They now have an added concern about Tim Bresnan who picked up a calf problem and needed a runner when he batted, but Strauss said an early comeback for Anderson, who isn't scheduled to play until Adelaide, wasn't being considered.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo