Colombo: Captain Andrew Strauss felt Saturday's eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the second and final Test had given his team the boost needed to perform well in England in the summer. The victory meant England drew the series 1-1 and retained their hold as the world's top-ranked Test team.
Strauss said: "It's nice we won this Test match and it's nice we are heading into the English summer with a little bit of confidence and I am absolutely certain we are going to play well in England. Having lost four Test matches in a row you are not thinking of No. 1 in the world you are thinking about making sure we win the next one. We all know that number one ranking has never been in the forefront of our minds. If you do focus on it too much you take your eyes off the ball. We worked exceptionally hard and huge credit to Andy Flower (head coach) and Graham Gooch (batting coach) in particular. They've been constantly doing everything they could to help us. For a while we have been looking good in the nets and it's a case of taking that into the middle which is always easier said than done.I saw a kind of steely determination on everyone's part to make sure we finished the winter on a high and it was fantastic we were able to do that."
The captain picked out paceman James Anderson, chief wicket-taker Graeme Swann and Kevin Pietersen, whose first innings century put England in command. "It is demoralising for the opposition team to see KP in full flight," he said. "It was an outstanding innings and obviously gave us the impetus and momentum to go on and win the game." Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said: "We were playing against a strong team and even though they were in trouble, I thought KP came and changed the game."
"I saw a kind of steely determination in everyone to make sure we finished the winter on a high," Strauss said.