Strauss blames on losing toss for defeat

Published: Sunday, September 3, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London: England captain Andrew Strauss said losing the toss and a clinical display of fast bowling by Pakistan led to his team's One-day defeat yesterday

In a match played in overcast conditions and reduced to 40 overs a side because of rain, Pakistan exploited their strengths to win by seven wickets.

''It probably wasn't the best of tosses to lose,'' Strauss said.

''But all credit to their opening bowlers as they took advantage of the conditions magnificently.

''From losing three early wickets it was always going to be difficult for us to post a decent total. We definitely needed more than that.'' England have now failed to win any of their last eight limited-over matches, discounting the win against non-Test team Ireland.

Man-of-the-match Shoaib Akhtar impressed with 4-28 in only his third international since returning from a six month lay-off with knee and ankle injuries.

The ever-improving seamer Mohammad Asif supported him well with 2-10 from his eight overs as England were bowled out for 166.

Pakistan won with 20 balls left.

Strauss, who suffered a first ball duck as he edged Shoaib to the wicketkeeper, has struggled against the bowler nicknamed Rawalpindi Express' previously.

''He's bowled exceptionally well and he's bowled pretty much how we expected him to bowl,'' Strauss said.

''You don't expect any favours from him. We expect him to bowl like that time and time again.'' Despite his impressive performance, Shoaib said he felt only ''80 percent fit''.

''I'm just trying to bowl in the right areas,'' he said.

''I'm still bowling at 90 miles-per-hour which is good enough for me. I'm lacking match practice but I should get there as I get on.''

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