Ajmal Shahzad confident of England success
Ajmal Shahzad is confident England will bounce back to winning ways after their six-wicket defeat in yesterday's opening one-day international against Australia in Melbourne.
Shane Watson produced one of the best one-day innings in history, in a match to celebrate the 40-year anniversary of the format, as he made a career-best unbeaten 161 to deny England after they were 294 all out.
That it took such an impressive innings to inflict defeat offered some reason for cheer for Andrew Strauss' side after their batsmen, led by Kevin Pietersen's 78, posted their highest-ever score against the world champions on Australian soil.
And with a protracted seven-match series ahead of them Shahzad insists his team-mates remained confident they can win the series.
"It's not much of a setback. We are disappointed to lose but there were plenty of positives to take out of it," he said.
"We ran them until the end, but you also have to give credit to a guy that has played superbly well.
"If we had taken our chances it could have been a different story.
"It gives us a little bit more energy to take into the next few games.
"It is a long series."
Shahzad admitted that finding a way to remove Watson early would be crucial to his side's fortunes following the opener's dominant display last night.
"He's been one of their best players. He's been batting superbly," he added.
"If we can plug him down or get him early doors it would be a big setback for them.
"I haven't really bowled at him that much but he's a superb player.
"He's not got many areas of weakness. On a wicket such as that, which was very flat and slow, we didn't have many options.
"To his credit he played very well. Hopefully we can learn from it and move on."
The match was Shahzad's fourth consecutive game on a tour that he has spent sat mostly on the sidelines after not being called upon during the Ashes series.
After returning for last week's warm-up game in Canberra, before the two Twenty20s and last night's game the 25-year-old said he was starting to feel back to full match sharpness.
He was England's best pace bowler on a slow MCG wicket that favoured the spinner last night, and he added: "It's been frustrating and difficult just to bowl at batsmen in the nets for so long. There's only so much you can do.
"I feel as though I'm getting into a better rhythm now in regards to everything.
"My batting, my bowling and my fielding. I feel like I belong on the pitch now.
"Personally last night I thought I did okay. I wish I could have changed it a little bit more our way and got a few wickets in the middle period.
"Hopefully I can get a decent run and show what I have got to offer."
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