Keep foot on the gas, says Strauss

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The Independent Online

England enter today's third Test against Pakistan at Headingley looking to pick up from where they left off at Old Trafford - a thumping victory by an innings and 120 inside three days - and Andrew Strauss, the stand-in captain, is urging his adopted side to build on that momentum.

"We're all in a slightly better frame of mind for this Test," Strauss said yesterday, "but I'm always wary about the match after games like that [in Manchester] because it's easy psychologically to take your foot off the gas. That's going to be something we need to address. Practice-wise we've really stuck to what we've done in previous preparations and made sure we didn't get a bit lax. It's something I need to highlight to the guys and I know Duncan [Fletcher] has as well. The guys are in form now and we've got to make sure we don't let that slip."

This Test could also be England's last opportunity to play a Pakistan side weakened by injuries with fast bowlers Mohammad Asif (elbow) and Shoaib Akhtar (ankle) lined up for possible recalls at the Oval. But an England victory will give the squad a lift as they set their sights on the Ashes this winter.

Strauss said: "The important thing is to use that game last week as a launch-pad to play even better cricket. If we can build up a winning momentum, then it's going to be great going into Australia."

England's dilemma is expected to be whether to stick with Sajid Mahmood, who offers greater pace but finished wicketless at Old Trafford, or the Gloucestershire seamer Jon Lewis.

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