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Page last updated at 18:19 GMT, Monday, 3 August 2009 19:19 UK

Strauss frustrated by stalemate

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Strauss upbeat despite stalemate

Captain Andrew Strauss admitted England lacked a cutting edge as the third Test with Australia ended in a draw.

"We came to the ground with high hopes that we might force a victory, but the wicket had died," Strauss said.

"We just couldn't get it swinging, and that made a difference. We tried other options but it just wasn't to be."

On the fitness of Andrew Flintoff for Friday's fourth Test he added: "Freddie seems OK. We're still pretty optimistic he'll be OK for Headingley."

Flintoff, who inspired England's victory at Lord's with a magnificent five-wiicket haul in the second innings, was wicketless throughout the match at Edgbaston, having sent down 15 overs in each innings.

"You don't want to over-bowl him when there's not much help for him," Strauss said.

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"Every time he bowls you have to be careful to see how he recovers, especially with the next game beginning on Friday. Hopefully he'll be fine to play."

Regarding the draw in Birmingham he added: "It's a little bit disappointing, but we'll take the positives. You always wonder if you could have done things differently, but a combination of good batting and a flat wicket took it away from us. We have to get ready for Friday.

"We were in charge for the majority of the match. The bowlers did exceptionally well on the first morning, and Australia will be pleased that they got out of jail.

"All credit to (Marcus) North and (Michael) Clarke - they batted very well and managed to take them to safety."

Reflecting on the three matches thus far the England skipper said: "When the ball is swinging, they have looked vulnerable.

Ponting takes the positives forward

"When there isn't much going on they've got stuck in and got hundreds. We have to make sure we take advantage of conditions when they are in our favour."

Australia captain Ricky Ponting drew parallels with the first Test at Cardiff, when England defied the odds and escaped with a draw, before going on to win handsomely at Lord's.

"If England took some momentum from the Cardiff game, then we can do the same from this one," he said.

"The way we applied ourselves today and with the ball on Sunday, has been encouraging. A few guys have found some real form. There are a lot of positives there.

"We were in total control in the first session of play, England got the ball swinging a lot on the second day, which was the difference for us not getting the same sort of total as they did in their first innings.

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"We got ourselves back into a really good position in the game, five down and a few hundred in front, if there were two days left in the game it could have turned out into a great game of cricket."

Ponting paid tribute to all-rounder Shane Watson, who returned to the team following injury and was promoted to open the innings in place of the omitted Phillip Hughes.

"He looked really good at the top of the order," Ponting enthused. "It wasn't an easy time to bat on the first session of the Test, the guy is playing his first Test as an opener.

"He looked really comfortable and he scores at a reasonable rate. He's got a good technique. I thought Mitchell Johnson got himself back into form and Mike Hussey looked particularly good as his innings went on, and Marcus North nearly made another hundred."

Man-of-the-match Clarke agreed that the weather had spoiled the contest, adding: "It could have been a different game without rain.

"It was good to spend some time out there and score some runs. I thought the pitch was really good, even though we haven't spent five days on it, so it was a day four wicket today. I thought it played really nicely."



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see also
Aussies defy England to earn draw
03 Aug 09 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
03 Aug 09 |  England
England v Australia photos
03 Aug 09 |  Cricket
England set up chance of victory
02 Aug 09 |  England
Anderson haul puts England on top
31 Jul 09 |  England
England toil after weather delay
30 Jul 09 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England


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