England captain Andrew Strauss has refused to panic despite his team falling 3-0 behind in the one-day series against Australia, leaving the visitors needing to win all four remaining matches to take the contest. The latest reversal was by four wickets at the SCG after another poor batting display which totalled 214.

Strauss insists that post-Ashes malaise isn't to blame for the decline in form, but it's hard not to think that the players have found it difficult to raise themselves to the same level that they found for the five Tests when the urn was at stake. Although England began the series with 294 at Melbourne, which still didn't prove enough, the last two matches have produced a return to the bad old days of their one-day cricket.

There is some mitigation in that the bowling attack is missing key personnel with Tim Bresnan the latest to join the list after he was ruled out of the series. But it's unfortunate timing because over the last 18 months the team have made considerable strides in the 50-over game and have won their last five series against South Africa, Bangladesh home and away, Australia and Pakistan.

Those past performances are what gives Strauss faith that the players can turn the series around when it resumes in Adelaide on Wednesday. "It's not the time to panic," he said. "There's obviously a couple of guys who are not in brilliant form at the moment but that can change around very quickly. Now's the time that you have got to have confidence in players rather than damage them.

"You have to give credit to the way Australia have bowled. We haven't been as smart as we should have been. I don't know the exact answer to it, all I can say is we need to look forward and improve. There's no point us crying into our cornflakes tomorrow morning."

While it's true Australia have bowled well, especially Brett Lee, there have been a range of loose strokes and some poor decisions by the England batsmen. In the latest match the captain was run out in a horrid mix-up, Eoin Morgan pulled a long hop to midwicket and Chris Tremlett produced a schoolboy howler by not grounding his bat.

For Strauss it's the running between the wickets that causes the most frustration and he will continue to back his batsmen to play in a positive manner because he believes risk brings reward.

"I hate run outs, I hate seeing run outs because it is needless," he said. "You have to understand that in one-day cricket you are going to get one or two soft dismissals an innings because you are pushing things pretty hard. What we need to avoid is the four, five or six that we've shown so far in this series.

"I still want us to play positive, aggressive, attacking cricket. That's the only way we are going to succeed in Australia or in the World Cup," he added. "I don't want too many of our batsmen scratching their heads wondering whether they should play a shot or not. I want them to play with freedom. If we keep doing that and keep believing then I think things will turn around."

However, there is a growing concern about the impact a heavy series defeat here would have on England's World Cup campaign even though conditions will be very different. Those players heading to the subcontinent only have three days at home, but Strauss won't hear any talk of weariness. "If fatigue is setting in, then that's not good enough," he said. "If we keep believing we'll turn things around."