England must beat India 5-0 in ODIs: Strauss

England would be keen to finish the summer on a high note by also remaining unbeaten in the upcoming ODI series against world champions India, said Test skipper Andrew Strauss after handing out the visitors a 4-0 whitewash.

Updated: August 23, 2011 12:44 IST
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London: England would be keen to finish the summer on a high note by also remaining unbeaten in the upcoming ODI series against world champions India, said Test skipper Andrew Strauss after handing out the visitors a 4-0 whitewash.

"It's an opportunity to take on the World Cup winners. There's plenty to be excited about. We are very keen to finish the summer again being unbeaten," said Strauss after England defeated India by an innings and eight runs in the Oval Test on Monday to pocket the series 4-0.

"We've had plenty of questions asked of us, and we've answered those questions. But we've got to start looking towards the winter now," he stressed.

With the Oval win, England have now scored five innings victory in the last 10 months and Strauss said they don't plan any let-up in their methods.

"It's a nice habit to have. A lot our innings win have come on the back of outstanding bowling and batsmen getting stuck in. If you get to a stage halfway through the Test when one side is really struggling, then often you can go ahead and win comfortably.

"The first half of the Test is always crucial and I think it's been a long time since we've been a long way behind in the first half," he said.

Strauss spoke of the frustration his side went through when overnight pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Amit Mishra stayed put till first half an hour after lunch.

"It looked for a while as though it would be Tendulkar's day. The morning session was very frustrating. When a guy like Mishra gets stuck in for as long as he did, you start questioning is the wicket dead?

"We were creating half-chances and there were plenty of plays and misses. We needed to keep patience. We were lucky to get three bursts before the new ball and then things happened very quickly," he said.

Strauss said his side's performance in the present series exceeded the expectations.

"It did exceed expectations for how well our individuals played. Our batsmen got big scores, the number of bowlers who stuck their hands up at different times. It was very impressive and a good springboard for further success."

The England captain was specially proud of the way his side worked hard for a win in the Oval Test even though they were 3-0 up in the series.

"There is that temptation to take your foot of the gas a little bit. In actual fact we probably had to work harder for this one than any of the others because we had to spend so long in the field having made them follow-on.

"That's what I'm most proud about; the guys were prepared to do that even when they didn't really have to. I think that bodes well for the future," Strauss said.

"The greatest pitfall is the feeling that you've done it all, therefore you're not willing to put in the hard work. I'd be very disappointed if we fell into that trap, it's not what we're about as a unit. If there are any signs of it, it's important to nip it in the bud," Strauss added.

England's off-spinner Graeme Swann finally came good in the series with a six-wicket haul in the Oval Test and Strauss was quick to acknowledge his superb show.

"This was the first one that helped him (Swann) out. He had to toil pretty hard; certainly when the ball got softer and older. The way he stuck at it; he kept creating chances for us which was fantastic."

Strauss made an effort to explain why India's famed batting line-up came a cropper in the series.

"If you look at a lot of the sides we've played over the last couple of years, some very good batsmen have struggled against our bowlers. I would prefer to view it as some outstanding bowling performances and obviously, when you get on top of opposition sides, when their confidence is reduced it becomes even harder for them to compete," he said.

"A gradual erosion of their confidence and a gradual increase of our confidence has been the difference between the sides."

Ian Bell was declared the man-of-the-match for his 235 in the first innings and the middle-order batsman insisted on repeating his exploits in the sub-continent.

"In the subcontinent, it's about getting big scores. I'm not sure when anyone last got a double hundred out there. That will be the goal."

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