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Page last updated at 21:59 GMT, Sunday, 27 September 2009 22:59 UK

Our best batting ever - Strauss

Andrew Strauss and Luke Wright
Strauss is all smiles after England cruise through to the semi-finals

Andrew Strauss hailed England's batting display as the best he had seen as his side reached the Champions Trophy semi-finals at the expense of South Africa.

Owais Shah made 98, Paul Collingwood 82 and Eoin Morgan 67 as England hit 12 sixes in 323-8 to set up a 22-run win.

"Owais Shah played a gem of an innings, and the way he and Paul Collingwood played the spinners was brilliant.

"They set it all up for Eoin Morgan, and it was great the way the guys played their shots," said Strauss.

South Africa captain Graeme Smith batted superbly to put his side in with a chance of the victory they needed to stay in the tournament.

But when Stuart Broad ended the opener's outstanding innings on 141, with South Africa on 274-9, England's victory was effectively sealed.

Eoin Morgan

Highlights - England through to Trophy semis

But the victory in Centurion was not achieved without controversy as Strauss refused Smith the assistance of a runner when the big left-hander began to suffer from cramp towards the end of his innings.

"He asked me for a runner because he was cramping, the umpires were not particularly keen to give him one, and I felt at the end of a long game when you have had a long innings you are going to be tired," said Strauss.

"That is one of the things that happens and cramping to a certain extent is a preparation thing and to a certain extent a conditioning thing.

"I didn't feel he merited having a runner at that stage. My personal view is you shouldn't get a runner for cramps full stop."

But Smith was far from happy with Strauss.

"From my perspective it seemed a little bit inconsistent," said Smith. "Players have got runners for cramp in the past and there needs to be a level of consistency there.

England were positive and we just never matched up. Two of our three games we've conceded over 300 runs and we need to look at that facet of our game

Graeme Smith

"The thing I have learned from this game is that the world is round and it is going to come back somewhere in his captaincy.

"It will be interesting to see how he handles it if it happens again. It was a crucial part of the game, I had been on the field for 95 overs and had cramped up."

However, Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, said he supporting Strauss.

"Andrew Strauss is certainly not a soft touch," Morris told BBC Radio 5 live. "He plays absolutely within the spirit of the game.

"Obviously Graeme Smith was suffering. We are at 6,000 feet altitude and he is struggling for a bit of air so I think Andrew Strauss was quite within his rights to do what he did."

As well as England's batting, Strauss was also happy with the way his side had gone about defending their total.


"It looked a little tight there for a while, but our ground-fielding was excellent," he said.

"We dropped a couple of catches which could have been crucial, but they had to strive hard to keep up with the rate and luckily our bowling was up to it."

Strauss also singled out the bowling of James Anderson, who took three wickets and never let the South Africans get after him.

"James is learning when it's not swinging to have a plan B," said Strauss.

"He's really coming forward and that's encouraging because to win these sorts of tournaments you need five bowlers to do their jobs."

Smith, overlooked as man of the match in favour of Shah, had to explain why South Africa had again failed at a major tournament despite starting as favourites.

"We've got the potential but there's no point in making excuses, we've just got to do it in the next year and a half," he said.

"It's hugely disappointing, but it's just about giving your all. I was trying to take it as deep as I could and look for someone to go with me, but we fell 22 runs short.

"England were positive and we just never matched up. Two of our three games we've conceded over 300 runs and we need to look at that facet of our game.

"We got close, we just lost key wickets at key times. We just needed that little key partnership towards the back end, 300 we would have cruised in but 320 was that little step too far."

It was not all good news for Strauss, who was fined 10% of his match fee for England's slow over rate.

England's final group game is against New Zealand on Tuesday.

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see also
Superb England reach Trophy semis
27 Sep 09 |  England
Davies comes into England squad
02 Oct 09 |  England
South Africa v England as it happened
27 Sep 09 |  England
Morgan leads England to victory
25 Sep 09 |  England
Strauss talks up England chances
25 Sep 09 |  England
England v Sri Lanka photos
25 Sep 09 |  Cricket
South Africa too strong for Kiwis
24 Sep 09 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
ICC Champions Trophy 2009
05 Oct 09 |  Cricket

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