Strauss lays the blame on batsmen

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Captain Andrew Strauss blamed England’s batsmen for their one-day international series defeat against Australia, claiming they “haven’t been smart enough”.

England conceded the series with a 51-run defeat in Brisbane, to leave them 4-1 down with two games to play. In each of their four defeats Strauss’ side have been bowled out, with their latest reverse confirmed when they were dismissed for 198 after Chris Woakes’ six for 45 - the best ODI figures by an England bowler on foreign soil - had left them chasing an achievable 250. Strauss singled out “soft dismissals” as the root of a concerning problem with the World Cup less than a month away. “One of the improvements we have made in one-day cricket was a lot of our batsmen getting bigger scores more consistently, but we’ve fallen into bad habits” he said. “Twenties and thirties and soft dismissals, that’s been plaguing us all the way through this series and ultimately that’s what has lost us the series.

“Our decision-making has been not very good. You’ve got to decide when is the right time to attack, who is the right bowler to attack. We just haven’t done that well enough. We haven’t been smart enough as a batting unit. We can’t hide away from it, we’ve got to take it on the chin, accept it and try and remedy it for these last two games and try and get some momentum heading into the World Cup.”

Strauss denied that the batsmen’s poor form was a result of mental fatigue. “I don’t think you can just blame every poor decision on that” he added. “There’s no reason for us to be really fatigued at this stage. We’ve got a lot of cricket ahead of us. We look after ourselves well and if guys are starting to think about that then that’s a dangerous place for us to be.” Meanwhiale, there is concern over injuries to bowlers Ajmal Shahzad and Chris Tremlett.

Shahzad has a hamstring injury and had to bat with a runner, while Tremlett was ruled out before the game due to a side strain. Both will have scans today and after front-liners Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan flew home early due to injury, a replacement may be called upon.