Cricket

Pressure on Strauss, England

2012-04-02 07:50
Andrew Strauss (Gallo)

Colombo - Jonathan Trott is backing under-fire England captain Andrew Strauss to end his form slump in the second Test against Sri Lanka that starts on Tuesday.

The left-handed opening batsman has not scored a test century since 2010 and needs to spark his team into action after they lost the first game of the two-match series by 75 runs in Galle last week.

A fifth defeat in a row for England, who were also whitewashed 3-0 by Pakistan in their previous series, in Colombo will allow South Africa to take over from them as the world's number one ranked team.

"Every player goes through ups and downs," Trott told reporters. "When someone is not scoring as many runs as they would like, or expect of themselves, it is always highlighted by you guys.

"I'm sure it will have a similar effect as it did when Alastair Cook recently came through his little slump. I'm surprised you guys haven't learned your lesson from that," added Trott who scored a century in Galle.

Strauss has plenty of credit in his 'cricket bank' having guided England to back-to-back Ashes wins over Australia and led them to the top of the test rankings.

However, he needs to arrest his batting slump quickly or run the risk of more media criticism about his value to the side.

Strauss's opening partner Cook was in a similar position midway through 2010 but a century against Pakistan at the Oval turned his form around and he has since gone from strength to strength, scoring six hundreds including two double tons.

England have struggled with spin against Sri Lanka and against Pakistan in their recent whitewash in the Gulf and Trott said there was no magic formula for success against the turning ball.

"I just played normally in Galle," said the number three batsman. "I didn't try going in with any preconceived conceptions.

"I had a bit of luck early on and rode it. You certainly need a bit of luck in these conditions with a lot of catchers round the bat."

Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene said the heat and the state of the wickets were also obstacles batsmen had to overcome on the sub-continent.

"It's not just spin bowling but how you play in certain conditions. It's about adapting," Jayawardene said.

England are without all-rounder Stuart Broad after he injured his ankle in the opening Test.

If the visitors want a fast bowler to take his place then Steve Finn will get the nod but Tim Bresnan's superior batting may mean he gets called up instead.

Left-arm spinner Monty Panesar may also be omitted after he toiled with the ball in Galle and dropped two important catches.

Sri Lanka will be forced into at least one change after fast bowler Chanaka Welegedara was ruled out with a groin strain. Dhammika Prasad is expected to replace him.

The return of Angelo Mathews after a calf injury has left the home team with a selection dilemma.

They must now decide between Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal who scored 27 and 31 in Galle.

The Colombo match marks the 30th anniversary of Sri Lanka's elevation to Test cricket.

Read more on:    andrew strauss  |  jonathan trott  |  cricket
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