Ajmal won’t beat us again, says Strauss

ENGLAND captain Andrew Strauss has fired a warning shot at Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal ahead of the series showdown at Lord’s on Thursday.

Ajmal ripped through the lower-middle order during the hosts’ second-innings collapse with a return of 4-71 as Pakistan ended England’s six-game winning streak to keep the series alive at 2-1.

But Strauss has declared his side are now better equipped to combat the 32-year-old’s threat ahead of the final Test in north-west London.

“We should have been better in this game but the more we play Ajmal the better we’ll be against him,” said Strauss. “Test cricket is about managing your game and if you haven’t picked the doosra you have to know what shots to be wary of playing, what the percentages are.

“The more you face someone the more you’re clear on that. It’s like Muttiah Muralitharan when he first came out with his doosra and got a lot of wickets. We can’t run away, we lost this game with the bat and we need to improve in that respect. We have to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes again at Lord’s.”

Yorkshire pace bowler Tim Bresnan, meanwhile, is the only addition to England’s 12-man squad ahead of the Lord’s Test.

Alastair Cook’s position at the top of the order was under scrutiny going into the last match but he silenced his critics with a confidence-boosting century in England’s second innings and national selector Geoff Miller praised the Essex opener’s response.

“There were some real positives from the last Test such as Alastair Cook’s outstanding century and the way the team fought hard on the final day defending a small total,” said Miller. “But ultimately the team is looking for an improved performance to finish the series well.”