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Page last updated at 21:27 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 22:27 UK

Strauss talks up England chances

Matt Prior and Eoin Morgan
Matt Prior and Eoin Morgan produced the match-clinching partnership

Captain Andrew Strauss said England could be a force to be reckoned with after surprising Sri Lanka in the ICC Champions Trophy in Johannesburg.

England reached a target of 213 in 45 overs to win by six wickets and looked a team transformed following their 6-1 series defeat by Australia.

Strauss said: "It was just great to see our batsmen play without fear.

"You can take a lot from victories like this, it was a professional chase and if we keep it up we'll be dangerous."

Having bowled well at the start and end of Sri Lanka's innings, England soon lost both openers when they began their run chase under floodlights in Johannesburg.

But they regrouped, first through man-of-the-match Paul Collingwood's aggressive 46, before Strauss's Middlesex team-mates Owais Shah (44) and Eoin Morgan (62 not out) finished off the job.

Strauss said: "We played well. It did a little bit with the the new ball, the key was not to lose early wickets.

"Colly took the game to them, Shah batted well and Eoin Morgan played excellently at the end. I think it was one of our better one-day performances for a while.

"It is a fast-scoring ground. The ball comes off the bat quickly and the outfield is fast so it was a case of not losing too many early wickets and keeping sensible, not being too rash early on.

"It was pleasing the way we went about the chase. It was a professional chase and it sets up the group quite nicely.

"There's still hard work to do. We are not jumping up and down at this stage. It was just good to get a win."

The left-handed Morgan, who collected his second ODI half-century in England colours having turned in some fine performances for his native Ireland, was particularly impressive.

"He plays at Middlesex with me and he has played a lot of innings like that for the past couple of years," Strauss said.


"It's just great to see him transfer that into the international arena. He looked calm and he played the spinners well - that was the key for us."

Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara admitted his side were always under pressure once an impressive opening burst from James Anderson (3-20) and Graham Onions (2-58) had seen them hit severe trouble at 17-4.

"It was a good total from where we were," said Sangakkara.

"But it didn't seem enough with the wicket easing off towards the end of the match. There wasn't much spin in the wicket, but I think we still bowled well, especially Ajantha.

"We have a bit of homework to do before the next game."

While England were delighted to see a wicket that played into their hands, Sangakkara was less complimentary about the conditions.

"The wicket was not the best for one-day cricket, especially if you want to attract fans to the one-day game," he complained.

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see also
Morgan leads England to victory
25 Sep 09 |  England
England v Sri Lanka photos
25 Sep 09 |  Cricket
England v Sri Lanka as it happened
25 Sep 09 |  England
Rashid's turn to learn
24 Sep 09 |  England
Flower keen to rotate players
24 Sep 09 |  Cricket
Nervy Pakistan overcome Windies
23 Sep 09 |  Cricket
Sri Lanka cruise to opening win
22 Sep 09 |  Cricket
Strauss urges change of attitude
20 Sep 09 |  England
England escape one-day whitewash
20 Sep 09 |  England
ICC Champions Trophy 2009
05 Oct 09 |  Cricket
Champions Trophy team guide
20 Sep 09 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket

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