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03 Jun 2011
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Andrew Strauss eyes Sri Lanka series win at Lord's
02 June 11 15:24 GMT
England captain Andrew Strauss is eager to complete a series victory against Sri Lanka at Lord's in the second Test, which starts on Friday.
His side lead the three-match series 1-0 after Sri Lanka's dramatic second-innings collapse handed them victory by an innings and 14 runs in Cardiff.
Strauss' team have not lost a Test series since a 1-0 defeat by West Indies at the start of 2009.
"We're very determined to make it 2-0 and win the series now," said Strauss.
"We're pretty buoyant after the way we managed to get the victory at the end there in Cardiff but we're also aware that it's right back to square one again here at Lord's.
"It's not often you win a Test match in that manner - most of the Test matches you win come from three or four days of very hard work getting yourself in the position to win so we've got to get right back to square one here and I think the guys are excited to do that.
"I don't think any of us want to take our foot off the pedal now. We've got some early momentum in this series."
The victory in Cardiff was made the more remarkable because more than 15 hours of the match were lost to rain delays, along with Sri Lanka's solid first-innings total of 400.
But four wickets each for Chris Tremlett and Graeme Swann saw the tourists collapse from 33-2 to 82 all out after tea on the final day, their fifth worst ever total in Test cricket.
However, Strauss is expecting a stern riposte from Sri Lanka.
The 34-year-old drew on his own experiences in 2009 when England were subjected to a demoralising innings defeat by West Indies in Jamaica, only to hit back in the hastily arranged third Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground.
"I would be very determined to prove a point," said Strauss, who scored 20 in England's only innings in Cardiff.
"When you think back to Jamaica, when we were bowled out for 51, and we came out firing the next Test match.
"We expect that from Sri Lanka, they want to show they are better than they were on that last afternoon and we have to be conscious of patting ourselves on the back too much and thinking everything is rosy. We have to be pretty switched on."
Sri Lanka interim coach Stuart Law described the second-innings display in Cardiff as "embarrassing", attributing the collapse to pressure rather than being outclassed by their hosts.
"Suddenly you lose a few wickets and you're under pressure. It's amazing what pressure can do to you, it makes the mind think wrong decisions," said the Australian.
"We sat down for a good 40 minutes after the day's play and spoke about different aspects and ways of coming back."
The retirements of world record wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga and Chaminda Vaas has left a huge vacuum in Sri Lanka's bowling depths, while a knee injury to Nuwan Pradeep forced the fast bowler to return home.
However, experienced seamer Dilhara Fernando is set to return after a knee problem prevented him from playing in Cardiff.
England's main selection issue revolves around James Anderson's replacement after the fast bowler sustained a grade one side-strain on day two in Cardiff.
Middlesex's Steve Finn looks set to replace the Lancastrian in what would be England's tallest bowling trio alongside Stuart Broad and Tremlett, measuring a collective 19 feet, seven and a half inches.
However, Strauss said Surrey's Jade Dernbach, Anderson's replacement in the 12-man squad, has been "impressive" in training and suggested he is not out of contention just yet.
"You have to look at the conditions and the opposition," he said.
"At the same time you don't want to make changes for changes sake - if something is going well then there's every reason to continue that. We're always looking at how to make things better - that maybe the balance of the side, different personal or different tactics."
England have now won four of the past five Test matches and trail South Africa, second in the International Cricket Council's world rankings, by only two points with 115.
And a victory at Lord's would propel them above Graeme Smith's team, the perfect fillip for their enthralling summer four-Test series against India, the world's number one ranked side.
"I don't think any of us want to take our foot off the pedal now," added Strauss. "We've got some early momentum in this series.
"We've got to push on and keep challenging ourselves to get better and better.
"We know that Lord's generally is a good wicket. You've got to fight hard for your wickets and it's usually five days of very hard work if you want to win a Test match."
England (from): Andrew Strauss (c), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior (wk), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Chris Tremlett, Steve Finn, Jade Dernbach.
Sri Lanka (from): Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), Tharanga Paranavithana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Dinesh Chandimal, Prasanna Jayawardene (wicketkeeper), Thissara Perera, Suraj Randiv, Ajantha Mendis, Rangana Herath, Dilhara Fernando, Chanaka Welegedara, Suranga Lakmal, Farveez Maharoof
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