Strauss draws strength from Centurion

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The Independent Online

Andrew Strauss is hoping England will have a psychological edge from Centurion when their Test series against South Africa resumes on Boxing Day.

England clung on desperately to withstand everything their hosts could throw at them in the first Test - and despite losing five wickets for 13 runs on the final evening, they just managed to achieve a stalemate.

"We got through it; it's still 0-0 in the series. That can be a little bit dispiriting for the opposition, so it's back to square one on Boxing Day," said Strauss.

Graham Onions and Paul Collingwood's last-ditch defiance was an action replay - with an amended cast list - from England's Ashes survival at Cardiff last summer.

The experience triggered happy memories of similar relief in Wales five months ago, and if the parallels continue Strauss will be delighted.

England took the second Ashes Test at Lord's on the way to series victory, raising expectations of success against South Africa at Kingsmead.

"It was a great game of cricket at Centurion," added Strauss.

"The way South Africa bowled in that final hour, they were very good at putting us under pressure - and I'm sure they'll take something out of that."

All those efforts came to nought, however - and Strauss said: "Equally, we'll take a lot out of the fact that we were able to withstand those last four or five overs."