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January 30, 2011
Andrew Strauss didn't pull any punches in admitting England's batting had been well off the pace during the one-day series after they slumped to a 51-run defeat at Brisbane which means there are now two dead matches. Chasing 250, which Strauss thought was well within range, England subsided to 198 all out and only reached that far because the final wicket added 53.
It continued a familiar tone for the visitors who haven't been able to replicate their century-making Ashes form in coloured clothes. Only Jonathan Trott with 102 at Adelaide has passed three figures and it was no coincidence that was the match England managed to win. Strauss has backed his players in their attacking approach, but wickets have been donated far too easily to the Australian bowlers.
"We've all got to put our hands up because we've all been a part of it," Strauss said. "One of the improvements we have made in one-day cricket over the past 12 or 18 months was a lot of our batsmen getting bigger scores more consistently, but we've fallen into bad habits in this series.
"Twenties and thirties and soft dismissals, that's been plaguing us all the way through this series and ultimately that's what has lost us the series. We can't hide away from it, we've got to take it on the chin, accept it and try and remedy it for these last two games and try and get some momentum heading into the World Cup."
After the two remaining matches of this series those players heading to the World Cup have three days at home before nearly another two months overseas. Strauss conceded that tired minds can make poor decisions in the middle but doesn't believe fatigue is the root of England's problems and will be driving home the need to lift performances.
"If you are mentally fatigued you probably do make poor decisions but I don't think you can just blame every poor decision on mental fatigue," he said. "There's no reason for us to be really fatigued at this stage. We've got a lot of cricket ahead of us. We look after ourselves well and if guys are starting to think about that then that's a dangerous place for us to be. I don't think they are, but it's something I'll certainly be warning them of."
Despite the short turnaround to the World Cup, Strauss isn't concerned about this series having a major impact on England's chances on the subcontinent. There is precedence for England lifting themselves after a one-day drubbing because following the 6-1 loss in the wake of the 2009 Ashes they reached the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy.
"Even a few days at home refreshes you and then you can turn up at a World Cup, a massive event and one that we're very excited about, and that should give us quite a lot of impetus going into that tournament," Strauss said. "There's no doubt about it, as a batting group we've got to be better than we have been. We're not going to hide away from it. We've got two more games to make some improvements."
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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