Southampton, Jun 18: Zaheer Khan must be licking his lips ahead of India's tour to England this summer after seeing Andrew Strauss' fallibility against left-arm seamers continue in the third test against Sri Lanka at the Rose Bowl.
Strauss fell to Chanaka Welegedara -- for the third straight innings this series -- for three when he edged to first slip a ball that seamed away and drew a tentative prod from the England captain.
The fact it was a decent delivery from Welegedara may be overlooked given Strauss' recent struggles at the hands of left-armers, which doesn't bode well ahead of Zaheer's arrival in England next month for a four-match test series.
The world's fifth-ranked test bowler snared Strauss four times the last time India toured England, in 2007, and again the following year in a test match in Mohali. Pakistan left-armer Mohammad Amir also dismissed the Middlesex opener on four occasions in last year's series between the two countries.
Strauss was engaged in extra net sessions with two left-arm county-level bowlers on the eve of the test in Southampton.
"I've worked on a few things," Strauss said Wednesday. "The most important with all these things is having the right mindset."
However, he struggled from the outset upon the resumption of his personal battle against Welegedara, playing and missing the first ball of the innings, which nipped in off the seam and went between bat and body before flying over the stumps. Nine balls and three runs later, Strauss had gone -- the third time in 22 deliveries he had fallen to Welegedara.
Observers claim Strauss, who has scored just 27 runs in four innings this series, is getting his angles wrong against left-arm pace and has lost the whereabouts of his off-stump. There is also the criticism he has failed to find the right balance between leaving and playing the ball.
While Amir and fellow left-armer Wahab Riaz enticed nicks behind in the Pakistan series in 2010, Australia left-arm seamer Doug Bollinger bowled Strauss when he played no shot in the first Ashes test in Adelaide in December.
Strauss has fallen 23 times to left-armers in his test career but 10 of those dismissals have come in the last 11 months. Zaheer will surely have taken note. AP