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Strauss excited as England bounce back

AFP
Jul 13, 2010 at 09:56am IST

Bimrimgham: England captain Andrew Strauss revelled in the growing competition for places in the one-day side after "leading from the front" as his team wrapped up a series win over Bangladesh.

"We are going to need a squad of players at the World Cup (in Asia next year)," said Strauss after making a career-best 152 and sharing an England record stand for any one-day international wicket of 250 with Jonathan Trott, who made 110, in a crushing 144-run win.

Bangladesh, chasing an imposing 348 to win, never looked like getting remotely close and were bowled out for 203 as England took the three-match series 2-1.

Strauss excited as England bounce back

The England captain revelled in the growing competition for places in the one-day side.

It was just the sort of emphatic victory England needed after the embarrassment of their five-run defeat - their first against Bangladesh in any format - in the second one-dayer at Bristol on Saturday.

England fielded the same side in all five matches of their preceding 3-2 home series win over Australia. But injuries and a desire to rest key men allowed other players to stake a claim.

So, for example Ian Bell made 84 not out in the series opener against Bangladesh at Trent Bridge in the absence of Kevin Pietersen. And Trott then seized his chance with 94 at Bristol before making a maiden ODI century on his Warwickshire home ground.

Yorkshire seamer Ajmal Shahzad starred with the ball on Monday, looking far more purposeful than the struggling James Anderson whom Strauss insisted was "rotated" rather than dropped, and might well have taken more than two wickets but for a hamstring niggle.

Meanwhile Ravi Bopara, recalled after Bell broke his left foot at Bristol, blazed his way to 45 not out off 16 balls with four sixes on Monday and then took four wickets with his medium-pacers. "Things have clouded over a little because these guys have come in and done so well," said Strauss, both the man-of-the-match and the series.

"But it's great having a lot of guys competing for places. The likes of Belly, Trotty, Ravi and Ajmal are all saying this shouldn't be a closed shop, and moving forward, we need a squad of players because we can't just rely on the same eleven," the left-handed opener added.

"We are going to need a squad at the World Cup, and it's a good thing we've got a lot of guys saying: 'I'm ready to be picked, I'm dying to be picked'. "We're in a much better position at the end of the series than the start of it," Strauss insisted.

Turning to Shahzad, Strauss said: "I'm really impressed. He looks like a wicket-taking bowler, he brings the stumps into play, and it's a shame he picked up that injury. He's another guy who's desperate to prove himself."

England's loss to Bangladesh last weekend was the first time they'd been beaten by the Tigers in 21 matches across all formats as the minnows ended a run of 24 successive defeats against all opponents stretching back to November last year.

"We certainly felt we let ourselves down a bit at Bristol and we were very keen to come back strong in this game," Strauss said.

"The best way to do that is to lead from the front. "We've proved we're a dangerous side who can beat anyone but we have got a problem over consistency."

Trott has now scored an Ashes-winning century, a Test double hundred and now a one-day ton since making his international debut against Australia last year.

"Obviously with Kevin Pietersen being injured I've got my chance and I am really happy I took it," Trott said. "After Trent Bridge I felt it would be nice just to get a game and a few days ago I didn't see myself sitting here having scored a hundred; it's amazing."

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza, who led by example with three wickets for 31 runs on Monday, was at a loss to explain his side's dip in form.

"It was (disappointing). We played poorly as a team. "But the seamer promised Bangladesh would bounce back in their remaining tour games against Scotland and Ireland. "We have to play well and win those matches," Mortaza said. "I am confident we will be back and confident we will be better than before."

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