I'm not a spent force, says captain crisis after England's fourth defeat in a row
21:40 GMT, 29 March 2012
Andrew Strauss has insisted his batting is not in ‘terminal decline’ after England lost their fourth Test in a row, going down by 75 runs to Sri Lanka here.
And the England captain, who made 26 and 27 in their latest defeat, may come under further pressure next week, when failure to win in Colombo would cost his side their cherished No 1 Test status.
Strauss brushed aside questions about his future as Test skipper, saying: ‘That’s just not the sort of thing I’m going to answer in the middle of a series.
Sending a message Struggling Strauss is cheekily positioned next to the sponsors' logo after the match
‘It would be wrong for me to think anything otherwise at this stage. I can understand the question, but it is not something that I’m focusing on.’
It is his form with the bat, however, that is causing as much concern as England’s sudden slump.
Seven of his last 14 Test innings have ended in the twenties or thirties, and he has made only one hundred in his last 48 innings.
But Strauss said: ‘If you keep getting to 30, I don’t think it’s a terminal decline, unless you’re very unfit, which I don’t think is the case with me.
‘My job in the side is to score runs and I haven’t done that as much as I would have liked over the last 12 months or so.
‘I’m hitting the ball nicely. I feel in good form. But you’re judged on your performances and I haven’t performed well enough. It’s obviously very frustrating and something I’ll try to improve next week.’
No need to panic Strauss and fellow opener Alastair Cook failed to shine
Strauss is England’s most successful Test captain, with 21 victories in 43 matches and only nine defeats.
But the 22nd win is proving worryingly elusive, and he was left to lament another dismal first-innings effort with the bat, when England totalled 193, only 13 more than Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene managed by himself. ‘You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out where things have gone wrong,’ said Strauss.
‘We haven’t got enough scores on the board and you’re not going to win too many Tests when that’s the case.
‘I thought we showed in the second innings that, technically and game-plan wise, there’s a lot of skill in our dressing room against spin bowling, but we didn’t apply ourselves in the right way in the first innings.’
There was justified praise for Jonathan Trott’s hard-earned 112, but Strauss conceded: ‘We left ourselves with too much to do in the fourth innings — the result of too many mistakes earlier in the game.’
To add to England’s headaches, they may have to make do without Stuart Broad for the second Test at the P Sara Oval in Colombo after the bowler picked up a calf injury and struggled to complete quick singles yesterday.
That could mean a return for Yorkshireman Tim Bresnan, mainly because his batting offers the side better balance than his fellow seamer Steven Finn.