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Strauss calls on England to show self-belief

MANCHESTER, England: Captain Andrew Strauss called on England to show they have rediscovered their self-belief and hunger for victory on the eve of the second test against Pakistan.

"We have had a lot of problems off the pitch, with injuries and stuff like that, it has been harder to go out and believe we are going to win every test match," Strauss told a news conference at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

"Now I think we have come to terms with those injuries a little bit, we are moving forward. The guys who have come in have spent a little bit longer in the team as well so there is no reason why they don't feel they can't make a match-winning contribution.

"We need to make sure we do things very well for the rest of the summer. If we show that hunger and self-belief that is going to serve us very well in this series and in the winter as well."

England, deprived through injury of their first choice captain Michael Vaughan, his successor Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones and Ashley Giles, drew the first test against an equally injury-hit Pakistan side at Lord's.

Strauss, leading the team for the second time, had been expecting to hand the reins back to Flintoff in Manchester only for the all-rounder to break down again with ankle problems. Flintoff now faces more surgery and a race against time to be fit for the Ashes in Australia.


"All the indications were that Freddie would be fit. It was a bitter pill to swallow when we heard," Strauss said. " It's a real shame that we are going to be without him for the rest of the series. The side showed we could play without him at Lord's and we now need to show it for the next three games.

"Sometimes you need someone as important as him not to play to realise you don't have to rely on him time and time again."

Strauss rejected suggestions by former Australia captain Steve Waugh that England had become too casual, arguing that the team were preparing in exactly the same way they had done previously.

But he did concede that England, who drew 1-1 with Sri Lanka before the Pakistan series, had not "snatched match-winning situations a couple of times and I think that is vitally important. We have to recognise those situations and play the game accordingly. We need to get that back on track.

"The important thing is the way we approach the test match, how much effort and commitment we put in. These are the things that make the difference between winning and losing. We saw last summer against the Aussies that if we want it badly enough we will win. That is exactly what we have to show in the next three games.

"History suggests that most matches here go five days and we have to be prepared to play five long, hard days of cricket if we want to get a result.

"If we draw on what happened at Lord's and just play a little better in certain areas there is no reason why we can't win the series."

England will name their team on Thursday morning. Strauss said there were several options to consider, with seamers Sajid Mahmood and Jon Lewis in contention to replace the injured Liam Plunkett.

"Mahmood is a bit quicker and can reverse it. It's a balance between the steady bowler and the guy who can produce something special," he said.

England released off spinning all rounder Jamie Dalrymple on Thursday, indicating they believe the pitch will favour the pacemen.



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