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Australia v England, 5th ODI, Brisbane

No excuses for soft dismissals - Strauss

Andrew McGlashan in Brisbane

January 30, 2011

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Brett Lee celebrates bowling Matt Prior, Australia v England, 5th ODI, Brisbane, January 30, 2011
Brett Lee was gifted a couple of early wickets with some soft dismissals © Getty Images
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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 ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Meety on (February 1, 2011, 6:52 GMT)

@ landl47 - easy to explain 2007, the Pommies lifted in the finals - Oz didn't. Love to have excuses why we lost that series, fact is Collingwood was bloody brilliant - it came out of nowhere really as he had dropped off after his Adelaide heroics. Only 6 of the Oz players in that finals series played in the entire Ashes! It was a full strength team minus Symonds - & went onto win the W/Cup. If it was a bilateral series it was 3-3 though, but tellingly the last 3 were the poms - they were on a roll! AS FOR THE TITLE OF THE ARTICLE - I suggest you re-read it because where does it say no excuses except for 1. no motivation, 2. no concentration - hmmmmmm! That's like me saying Oz only lost the Ashes because they were un-motivated! I mean we all could see the shot selection was poor - the batsmen made plenty of mistakes. Why don't you explain how a 1 match series v India is of more importance/significance - or the 3 matches v SL????

Posted by landl47 on (February 1, 2011, 3:33 GMT)

@Meety and Alka-Delics: if you're going to take the position that this series is meaningful, then you have to explain away Australia's loss to England in 2007, between winning the Ashes 5-0 and winning the World Cup. As for confusing limited-overs cricket with tests, England beat South Africa in South Africa in November 2009, didn't lose an ODI series in 2010 and won the T20 World Cup. How did Australia get on? And my knowledge of cricket is good enough that I know Tremlett isn't in England's World Cup squad. I'll spell it out to you in easy stages. When you're not motivated, you lose concentration. When you lose concentration, you make mistakes. When a batsmen makes mistakes, he gets out to by playing bad shots at balls he shouldn't get out to- a soft dismissal. Now go back and re-read the title of this article. All you need is a little common sense, and perhaps a touch more knowledge of cricket than Alka-Delics.

Posted by Meety on (February 1, 2011, 1:58 GMT)

@Sanj747 - whilst I agree that sides aspiring to being better - need to perform all the time, being #1 doesn't mean you have to be the best in ALL formats. I'd gladly swap good performances in T20 for a return to #1 in Tests (with the Ashes on the mantle). I'd probably swap #1 in ODIs for Tests (after the W/Cup though). @ karl43 - no real dramas with what you said but I am fascinated to know on what basis you measure the "25%" better?

Posted by Meety on (February 1, 2011, 1:53 GMT)

@ landl47 - naughty, naughty - how can you say this ODI series is any less meaningless than any other series that you mentioned? The SL series was a 3 match cash grab prior to the Ashes even more ridiculous than this series being 7 matches. The India series was 1 completed match. Stop with the excuses it's unbecoming. LOL! In 1987 we supposedly didn't have a good squad either, what happenned at that W/Cup? Brave man to bet against a nation that has reached the W/C Final everytime bar 2 since inception. Clearly the Pommie batting line up is fundamentally challenged when it comes to how to play an ODI innings. This is pretty much a full strength line up 1 to 7 & it has failed 3 ot of 5 matches. This is against an Oz line up that has several choice players unavailable like Bracken, Tait, Starc, Hazlewood, Harris & McKay. All of which could/should of been selected had they been fit! (Tait is playing but not 100% fit).

Posted by Alka-Delics on (February 1, 2011, 1:23 GMT)

@landl47 :: You're confusing test matches with limited overs cricket. To claim England are likely to get a better result in the WC than Australia off the back of an Ashes victory is utter tripe. We're talking about two different squads in a different form of the game. You claim England's ODI defeat here to be insignificant; a series loss 18 days away from the WC surely warrants an second look at England's disastrous preparation, considering Trott the only in-form batsman, next to a keeper who shouldn't be opening, an overrated KP, a diminishing Collingwood and a captain who can't seem to bat in limited overs cricket. Silly me, I almost forgot England's bowling woes! Shazhad, Tremlett and Broad will all be climbing a mountain to regain fitness for the WC. A half-strength side indeed. Using a test series win as grounds to say your side is better than they really are in ODI indicates your knowledge of cricket is very little. Look at the ICC ODI rankings. They don't lie.

Posted by karl43 on (January 31, 2011, 12:22 GMT)

I'm relieved that England peaked early and were outstanding during the 1st half to three quarters of this tour and winning 3 tests by an innings and 50+ was a stunning achievement, they had to be at least 25% better than Australia in the ashes to not only beat the opposition but also to tame the australian conditions, pitches and crowds. The ODI series has been very one sided but I do think that england will bounce back in the World Cup and maybe reach the Quarter Finals, we will be boosted by the return of several keyl players who were injured during this tour. I think Australia will do very well in the world cup and reach at least the semi-finals.

Posted by Sanj747 on (January 31, 2011, 10:37 GMT)

Listening to Andy Flower that this team has the potential to be number 1. Number 1 means winning consistently in all forms. The poms simply can't do this. Why is Tremlett not in the World Cup Squad Andy. Pretty poor selection mistake that one.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2011, 9:38 GMT)

Andrew Strauss may want to look at himself in the mirror. He's not exactly flush with runs either.

This is why the World Cup will become a trainwreck for England very quickly...they show up, do one measly thing, and then check out without realizing that there are matches afterward. You want to be #1? Not like that you aren't.

Posted by landl47 on (January 31, 2011, 5:51 GMT)

Wow, there are a lot of Aussie fans here who are either desperate or deluded or both. After losing ODI series to England in England, to India in India and to Sri Lanka in Australia, the Australian team win a meaningless series played between two half-strength teams and on that basis you think Aus is a contender for the World Cup? Look, I don't think England is a great ODI team, although they were good enough to beat South Africa in South Africa in a series which, significantly, was played BEFORE the tests. However, Aus isn't a great team either and the squad they've picked is more suited to Australia than the subcontinent. I don't think either side will win the World Cup, but I rate England's chances as better than Australia's because, as the test series showed, they're fundamentally a better team. When the bowling's at full strength and the batsmen aren't going through the motions at the end of a long tour, Eng will challenge. Aus will be lucky to reach the semi-finals.

Posted by Something_Witty on (January 31, 2011, 5:51 GMT)

It's funny how quickly the "England are off the pace" excuses pop up once England start losing. These guys are professional cricketers. If they're "mentally exhausted" after ONE test series, they're in the wrong sport! - If they're this "exhausted" already, what shape are they going to be in when the WC comes around??? Get real England supporters. Australia were outplayed in the test series, England are being outplayed in the ODI's. At least have the humility to admit it. The "exhaustion" excuse is absolutely stupid anyway. Australia played all the tests as well you know, it wasn't just England playing. So if Australia aren't off the pace because of playing the Ashes, why are England? The truth is that Australia are a better ODI side. If both teams played their best (which neither are doing at the moment), Australia would win quite comfortably. That is my honest opinion.

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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