Andrew Strauss took heart from England's series-leveling win against Pakistan at Edgbaston yesterday and said his team had turned a corner in the right direction. "There's a lot of fight there and a lot of belief," he told reporters after the match. "It's been a tough summer in one-day cricket but hopefully there's some light there at the end of the tunnel."
Strauss believed his team's back-to-back wins could inspire them to greater deeds: "If we can continue that over the course of this winter and beyond we could be a very, very good side."
England's one-day summer had been dismal, with a 0-5 drubbing at Sri Lanka's hands and two bad losses as the series opened up against Pakistan. But Strauss found comfort from England's Test performances and the come-from-behind one-day wins. "I'm pretty happy with the way the summer has gone because it started off not so good and improved as it went on and that's what you're looking for," he said. "Young guys are coming in and taking the opportunity and showing what they can do and playing with freedom. Hopefully we can continue that in the Champions Trophy."
On the tense, three-wicket win in the final match, Strauss was relieved that the tail was able to scrape through. "We made a bit of a mountain out of a molehill," he said. "We shouldn't have left it to the tail-enders to finish off the job. We bowled really well. Chasing 150 you should really do nine times out of 10."
Meanwhile, Bob Woolmer, Pakistan's coach, admitted the ball-tampering row at The Oval had affected his side's performance as they rounded off their tour on a losing note. "Coming back from a terrible week to play so well in four games - including the Twenty20 - took a lot of energy and it finally petered out," he said. "There was no fuel left in the tank - it's been a big emotional drain.
"It was tougher to bat in the morning than the afternoon," Woolmer added. "Saying that, we bowled beautifully and when suddenly we had a bit of a sniff of getting England out, the boys showed what they can do in those situations. We are disappointed because we had a pretty good chance to win the series. We played well in the Twenty20 and the first three one-dayers but failed to continue that. But we're not going to make excuses and say we were tired after a long tour - England played the better cricket in the last two games."