Strauss aims for No.1 after England keep Ashes

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Andrew Strauss is looking ahead to making England the number one team in world cricket after achieving the Holy Grail of retaining the Ashes.

Updated: December 29, 2010 18:21 IST
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Andrew Strauss is looking ahead to making England the number one team in world cricket after achieving the Holy Grail of retaining the Ashes in Australia.

The tourists inflicted their second innings triumph over the Australians in the series with a domineering innings and 157-run victory in the fourth Melbourne Test to take a 2-1 series lead ahead of next week's final Sydney Test.

While England bask in keeping the Ashes for a few more years after decades of Australian domination, skipper Strauss has grander plans in store for his team.

"Winning the Ashes in Australia has always been a bit of a Holy Grail for English sides," skipper Strauss said after his team mopped up a commanding win inside four days on Wednesday.

"In reality the job is a long way off being done. This is one series and as a side we've still got a lot of goals we want to achieve.

"English cricket is not just about winning the Ashes, we have to look forward to the future and try to get our team up those rankings and hopefully to world number one at some stage.

"That's the ultimate goal for us and we have lot of small steps along the way to achieve that, including India next summer is an important step on that way.

"I get the feeling that we can still improve a lot as a side and that's quite motivating."

England are currently third on the Test rankings behind India and South Africa, with Australia fourth.

Strauss, who has grown in stature as a leader on the Ashes tour, wants to continually challenge his side to attain greater heights and sees some goals ahead, starting with next week's Sydney Test.

"There is plenty to strive for, the Sydney Test, then the World Cup and then we have India coming next summer which is going to be a big opportunity for us," he said.

"Our objective was to come out here and win the series, so we haven't achieved that yet.

"It's very reassuring to know that the Ashes are going to remain in England for the next couple of years, but it would leave a very sour taste in the mouth if we weren't able to go on and convert our position into a series win in Sydney."

Strauss, who now has won 15 of his 31 Tests since taking over as captain in July 2006, said retaining the Ashes in Australia was a team victory.

"It's immensely satisfying. There's clearly a lot of hard work that goes into preparing for an Ashes tour and the captain's involved in that, but so is the coach and the backroom staff who have been outstanding.

"It's great for me, but we all know that a captain is nothing without the guys in the side who stand up and deliver under pressure.

"I am not going to take the credit for this, because it's not my victory, it's the team's victory."

Strauss, 33, rated hanging on to the Ashes as one of the great benchmarks of his the six-and-a-half year Test career.

"You turn up in Australia knowing it's going to be hard work and the guys have dug pretty deep and richly deserve what they've got so far," he said.

"It's got to be up there somewhere. The pressure of the situation, Boxing Day, massive Test match, huge atmosphere, pressure on the line.

"So for the way the bowlers bowled on that first morning, there was a lot of pressure on them having won the toss and elected to field and they responded outstandingly well (bowling out Australia for 98).

"Then Trotty (Jonathan Trott) stood up in particular with the bat, but everyone got stuck in because we realised that this was our chance of really hammering it home and from that position onwards it was going to be hard not to win the game."

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