Strauss’ backing for Pietersen and Cook

ANDREW STRAUSS has backed under-fire duo Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook to get among the runs and fire England to victory in the second Test with Pakistan.

Both top-order batsmen are desperate for runs as the battle for places hots up ahead of the Ashes series with Australia this winter.

Pietersen goes into the Edgbaston Test without a century in 22 innings, passing 50 only five times in that time.

Another failure in the 354-run first-Test thumping at Trent Bridge last week led to calls for Pietersen to be rested, but captain Strauss believes his big-hitting No4 will come good.

“He’s been really good this week, he feels like he wants to get that score but we’re very happy with what he's doing and he will come right,” Strauss said. “We all go through it, you’re not human if you don’t go through a poor run of form at some time, but players of the quality of KP always come back and he will.”

Similarly, Cook has made only 79 runs in the five innings since his century against Bangladesh in Dhaka, but Strauss is keen not to put too much pressure on his fellow left-hander.

“You can get too focused on a couple of bad innings, Cookie has made some good adjustments,” he added.