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Strauss non-committal on England future
Andrew Strauss will need some recovery time to reconfirm his desire to lead England back to the top of the world after they lost their world number one Test status to South Africa at Lord's.
Strauss stopped short of that as he reflected on a 51-run defeat on his home ground, and resulting 2-0 Investec series loss. Matt Prior's resourceful 73 had kept the outcome in doubt deep into the evening session, as England's middle and lower order sought to redress the imbalance of failures further up the list.
Asked afterwards whether England's performance had helped ensure his appetite for the challenges ahead, he said: "I've great faith in the team; I've great faith in the set-up. I've still got a lot of desire there."
He went on: "We'll see how things go. I'm keen to get away for a few days and have a bit of a break. Then we all need to sit down - myself and (coach) Andy (Flower) in particular - and try and map out the way forward."
Strauss' next appointment for England is the first Test against India in Ahmedabad in November, and his first step before then is to come to terms with this defeat.
"I am obviously bitterly disappointed to come out on the wrong side of the result in this game," he added. "But I can't fault the commitment and hunger and desire and application that everyone showed.
"I thought it was a fantastic effort from our players. But South Africa were just a bit too good. They outplayed us over the course of the three Test matches. We've got to take that on the chin, try to work out why that was the case and how best to move forward."
In scenes directly contrasting those at The Oval a year ago, when England went to the top of the world rankings after trouncing India, this time Strauss and his team-mates had to watch while Graeme Smith was presented - in front of the Lord's pavilion - with the International Cricket Council mace to mark South Africa's achievement.
Smith attended the post-match press conference with a slogan paying tribute to Mark Boucher, the wicketkeeper who came here hoping to cap his career - this would have been his 150th Test - only to be forced into retirement by an eye injury suffered in a tour match last month.
"Coming back here and doing it again feels very special," said Smith. "It's hard to replace 2008. But this feels better because England were number one in the world."