English bats frustrate Strauss

(BBC) – Andrew Strauss says England’s top order must start making bigger scores if his team are to win their one-day series against Australia.

England fell short in the opener at The Oval, losing by four runs.

Captain Strauss said: “When you are chasing 260 you need one of your batters to make a big score. None of our batters were able to do that.

“There were plenty of contributions but no-one made a sizeable enough one to tilt the game in our favour.”

Ravi Bopara top-scored with 49 off 88 balls, but England’s batsmen were always struggling to keep their run-rate ticking over.

Opener Strauss, who made only 12 runs, admitted: “We didn’t chase it as well as we should have.

“If you want to win consistently one of your top four or five needs to get hundreds more often than not.

“That is an area we are looking to address. We weren’t able to do it here but hopefully we will be able to put that right (in the second game).

“It’s a seven-match series and we’ll look to come back strongly at Lord’s.”

England needed 82 runs from the last 48 balls after some stodgy batting.

But Luke Wright (38 off 27 balls) and Adil Rashid (31 not out off 23) almost pulled off a surprise win.

Strauss added: “We had a very gettable target… but nobody got a fifty so you’re always struggling in those circumstances.”

Strauss drew positives from the performance of Rashid, playing his first one-day international against a top side.

As well as his batting, the 21-year-old Yorkshire all-rounder bowled 10 overs of leg-spin for just 37 runs.

“I was really impressed with the way Adil bowled,” Strauss said. “He mixed it up well and all the Australian batsmen found him hard to get away.

“There were some nice wristy flicks with the bat as well and he’s definitely one for the future for us.

“I also impressed with the way Luke Wright batted at the end there.”

Strauss added he was pleased with England’s effort in the field.

“We would have liked to have taken a couple more wickets early on but there was not quite as much bounce as we expected there to be, but I was really impressed by the way we bowled.”

He also defended his decision to field first on winning the toss, despite misreading the nature of the wicket, which was somewhat slower than expected.

“I don’t think the wicket changed at any stage of the game,” he said.

Meanwhile opposite number Michael Clarke found run-scoring an awkward prospect. He took 72 balls to make 45 and said: “This is a very good start – what a fantastic game.

“I probably thought we were 10 or 15 runs short. That was mainly my fault – I was a little bit slow batting. But we bowled and fielded really well.”

Callum Ferguson, man of the match for his 71, said: “It’s always nerve-racking at the end of the innings, so we’re really glad to get away with the win.

“We’ve played some really good cricket, so hopefully we can keep the momentum going on through the series.”