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Jan 29, 2012 at 11:04am IST

Strauss admits to spin weaknesses

Abu Dhabi: Captain Andrew Strauss admits England have yet to overcome their weakness of batting in subcontinent-like conditions after Pakistan spinners rolled his side for just 72 in the second Test on Saturday.

The incredible 72-run victory inside four days won Pakistan the series with a Test to spare. Pakistan won the first Test by 10 wickets with two days to spare at Dubai last week.

Both teams travel back to Dubai for the last match, starting on Friday.

Strauss admits to spin weaknesses

Pakistan spinners rolled England for just 72 in the second Test on Saturday.

England have flopped on the spinner-friendly pitches in the Gulf, and haven't won a Test series in either India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka in a decade.

"I said at the start of this tour this is the final frontier in a lot of ways — the subcontinent," Strauss said.

"But, I think the fact we got rolled over twice in Dubai meant that there was some baggage there going into this final innings."

Pakistan spinners have exposed the top-ranked team's ability to bat on turning pitches: Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan and Ian Bell have put up four below-par batting performances in the two Tests.

"Test cricket is hard and it exposes vulnerabilities or weaknesses that you have," Strauss said.

"The good thing is you can overcome those ... but we weren't able to do it in this game."

England bowlers gave hope to Strauss' batting unit when left-arm spinner Monty Panesar claimed six wickets and bowled out Pakistan for 214 after lunch.

That meant England required 145 to win with more than four sessions left.

But England's run-chase folded half an hour before stumps on the fourth day in only 36.1 overs with only Strauss (32) and Matt Prior (18) reaching double figures.

Instead of showing some aggression against spinners, England was caught by surprise when offspinner Mohammad Hafeez bowled with the new ball.

"I suppose it's easy to get caught between two schools, whether to be patient and wait for scoring opportunities to appear or to take the bull by the horns," Strauss said.

"We just didn't play well enough, individually and collectively. Individually we haven't been clear enough with our game plans against the spin.

"We've allowed pressure to build, and each time a wicket falls it makes it harder for the guy coming in.

"As a batting unit we have to hold our hands up and say 'we haven't been good enough.' It's been pretty apparent, it's clear, no excuses, we need to be better than that.

"There will be regrets because these are the games that hurt the most."

Strauss applauded Pakistan, who rank 5th in Test cricket, and have a chance to record their first clean sweep against England.

"Pakistan thoroughly deserved their victory ... we've been below where we want to be and we need to come back and bounce back strongly from this.

"I thought in both games they've played really well, they've been a good, close-knit unit and they've got some very good spin bowlers and ultimately they played better cricket than we did."

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