Strauss tells England to turn screw on Australia

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The Independent Online

England are under orders to give Australia no way back into the NatWest Series after opening up a 2-0 lead with three matches to play.

Andrew Strauss, who remembers all too well England's 6-1 defeat against the same opponents in the corresponding series last September, knows this is no time to let the pressure ease.

Strauss hit one of two England 50s - man-of-the-moment Eoin Morgan provided the other - in a second successive four-wicket win over the old enemy yesterday.

But it was birthday boy Stuart Broad's four wickets which provided the most telling contribution as Australia could muster only 239 for seven after winning the toss at the SWALEC Stadium. It all means that another success in Manchester on Sunday would wrap up a series victory for England, with two matches to spare.

Strauss, however, is taking nothing for granted.

"We have to make sure we don't rest on our laurels now," he warned, acknowledging again that last year's NatWest drubbing helped England reach a turning point in their limited-overs fortunes. "That was an eye-opener for us," he said.

"We had to find a way of being better.

"We are trying to be aggressive and fearless, but it is also important that we are calculated.

"It is very important to learn from your mistakes."

Broad's four for 44 left Australia struggling on 118 for five - and even Cameron White (86no) could not salvage a remotely defendable total, England knocking off the runs with almost five overs to spare.

Morgan top-scored with 52, and Paul Collingwood become England's record one-day run scorer in the course of his 48.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting could only reflect ruefully on a near 'groundhog' experience as his team made the same mistakes as they had in Southampton, and ended up with the same result.

"It was pretty much a mirror-image of the last game," he said.

"We got off to a reasonable start; then four quick wickets again, and all of a sudden we find ourselves behind in the game - which is exactly what we did in the first match.

"We have to address that obviously; I and the guys at the top need to be consistent runscorers, and we haven't done that in the first two games.

"We need to turn the tables pretty quickly now, two down with three games to go. We've got to start playing better.

"We're going to have a chat about the way we're playing and have to fix it in the next two days before Manchester.

"We've only got ourselves to blame for the hole we're in at the moment. We've got to dig deep within ourselves and come out and put a better performance on the board."