I don't want any more cliffhangers: Strauss

Wednesday, 9 March 2011 00:03 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Captain Andrew Strauss praised England's character after a tense six-run win over South Africa reignited their World Cup campaign but said he did not want any more cliffhangers.

England, just days after a shock three-wicket loss to minnows Ireland looked all but beaten as the in-form Proteas advanced to 63 without loss, chasing 172 for victory at the Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Sunday.

The Ashes heroes had tied with India earlier in the tournament.

“We've been involved in three outstanding games of cricket and we've done our best to advertise the 50-over format, but I would like them to be less close,” Strauss said after another nail-biting encounter.

England, with fast bowler Stuart Broad taking four wickets for 15 runs, engineered a South Africa collapse on a pitch that gave the bowlers plenty of help and became trickier for batting as the match wore on.

England made a dreadful start after Strauss won the toss and batted, with the skipper and fellow opener Kevin Pietersen both falling to Robin Peterson's left-arm spin in the first over of the match.

Peterson reduced England to 15 for three but man-of-the-match Ravi Bopara, recalled in place of Paul Collingwood, made 60 and shared what turned out to be vital stand of 99 with Jonathan Trott (52).

“It wasn't one of our best wins ever. To lose three wickets early on a wicket like that was criminal,” Strauss said.

“Trotty and Ravi got us back in the hunt, Swanny (off-spinner Graeme Swann, who took one for 29) bowled outstandingly well and Broady and Jimmy (Anderson) picked up wickets at crucial times.

“We need to show a lot of character,” added Strauss, out for a third-ball duck. “I'm delighted for the bowlers, who'd been under the pump.”

“If we can get our batting and bowling right in one match, we will be a hard side to beat.... You're not going to defend 170-odd very often so you need things to go your way.”

Bopara, dropped after seeing England home with the bat in their opening win over the Netherlands, said the individual honours should have gone to Broad, who ended the match when he had Morne Morkel caught behind.

Bopara, in at 15-3, said: “When me and Trotty got together we realised it wasn't a great wicket and thought 200 would be a good score.”