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Andrew Strauss demands England batting improvement

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Strauss does not blame individuals

England captain Andrew Strauss demanded a significant batting improvement after a four-wicket defeat by Pakistan in the third Test at The Oval.

Strauss said two top-order collapses were responsible for the loss, which ensures the series is still alive at 2-1 for the fourth Test at Lord's.

"We can't run away, we lost this game with the bat and we need to improve in that respect," Strauss told BBC Sport.

"We have to make sure we don't make the same mistakes again at Lord's."

The defeat, their first since an innings and 74-run loss against South Africa in Johannesburg in January and only their second this year, ended a six-match winning streak by England.

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But of more concern for Strauss was the manner of England's two collapses on first morning of the Test and the final session on the third day, when seamer Mohammad Amir and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal ripped through the lower-middle order.

"We lost the match because of two poor sessions with the bat. We don't want to see these types of collapses," Strauss told Test Match Special.

"Pakistan are a dangerous side and their bowlers were outstanding on the first day and on Friday, when the ball was reverse swinging.

"Maybe we need to work on batting more time and to assess the conditions, but I don't think complacency comes into it.

"If you keep doing that then you're putting yourself under pressure unnecessarily, especially when it's the top order.

"But if you're asking are we bad players, I don't think that's true."

Although Strauss was critical of his top order, he heaped praise on under-pressure opening partner Alastair Cook, who ended a poor run of form with a confidence-boosting century in England's second innings.

The left-hander made almost half of England's total of 222 with a knock of 110, but his dismissal at 156-3 contributed to England's batting collapse.

"I'm really pleased to see Alastair Cook coming back into form," added Strauss. "To play like that in testing conditions was outstanding and is a great testament of his skills.

"He got himself in that position where he felt he had to prove himself. There was a huge amount of attention on him and having been in that position myself I know it's a very tough place for a batsman to be.

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"You have to dig deep and it's a test of character - not technique or anything like that. In terms of that I thought he was outstanding. The determination and skill were there for all to see."

"I don't feel like I have any real concerns over any particular member of our batting unit because I think we're all quality players."

Strauss also confirmed that England will donate a percentage of their match fee to the Pakistan flood relief effort.

"It's a massive humanitarian catastrophe out there and we're trying to help as much as we can," said Strauss. "The more people who do that the better."

Both teams will travel to Lord's for the fourth and final Test, which starts on Thursday, and is England's final five-day match before the Ashes in Australia this winter.



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see also
Jonathan Agnew column
21 Aug 10 |  England
Pakistan edge to win over England
21 Aug 10 |  England
Butt praises Pakistan character
21 Aug 10 |  Pakistan
England v Pakistan day four photos
21 Aug 10 |  England
Pakistan in England 2010
07 Sep 10 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket


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