Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Strauss eyeing faultless display
England captain Andrew Strauss admits his side cannot afford any mistakes as they aim to claw their way back into the series with South Africa this week.
Strauss' side have swept all before them on home soil in recent years on their way to the top of the world Test rankings However, they met their match in South Africa in the first Test.
The tourists recovered from an indifferent first day to blow England away in ruthless fashion at The Oval, shocking Betfair Cricket fans who have grown used to non-stop success for their side. The Proteas eased to an innings victory and will be confident of wrapping up the series at Headingley.
England misfired with both bat and ball in the opener. The hosts were bowled out for 385 and 240, while South Africa racked up a mammoth 637-2 in their only innings.
Strauss is confident England can bounce back from the humiliating defeat with a strong showing in the second Test in Leeds, which begins on Thursday. England Cricket Betting markets now have the tourists as the favourites, meaning ti will take a dramatic and rapid turnaround in order to persuade punters otherwise.
"Being around the guys in the practice days, it's pretty clear that everyone's got their heads on and they're determined to come out firing in this game and try and put South Africa under pressure," the England skipper told Sky Sports News.
"We're quietly confident, we can't afford to make any mistakes now – it's do-or-die time. But that sort of pressure can be a good thing as well.
"We're excited about this week and I'm certainly very confident our guys will come out and play well."
England have been forced into at least one change, with young Nottinghamshire batsman James Taylor replacing the unavailable Ravi Bopara at number six.
The home side could choose to tinker with their bowling unit, which looked uncharacteristically flat in the opening Test, with Steven Finn and Graham Onions waiting in the wings.