Strauss clueless after another loss

Captain Andrew Strauss was at a loss to explain what had gone wrong for his England team after they were beaten for the fourth Test in a row on Thursday.

Sri Lanka's victory in the first Test means England could lose their place at the top of the world rankings if they suffer a 2-0 whitewash in the series.

“You need to be a rocket scientist to work out where things have gone wrong,” Strauss told reporters after his side were bowled out for 264 on the fourth day.  “We haven't put scores on the board and we are not going to win too many Test matches if that's the case.

“I thought we showed in the second innings, technically and game-plan wise, there's a lot of skill in our dressing room against spin bowling.  “We just didn't apply ourselves in the right manner in the first innings,” added Strauss, referring to their meagre total of 193.

England struggled to cope with spin when they lost 3-0 to Pakistan in their most recent series in the Gulf and the visitors were undone by the turning ball again in Galle as slow left-armer Rangana Herath picked up 12 wickets in the match. “In the fourth innings you can understand the odd ball spitting and you'll get the odd dismissal but the first innings was no excuse and that is what is most frustrating,” said Strauss.

The skipper singled out  Jonathan Trott (112) for praise.  “Everyone has got different game plans,” said Strauss. “There's always a balance between attack and defence in Test cricket and Jonathan was a good example of that.”

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