Southampton, Jun 15: England captain Andrew Strauss is determined to end his lean spell with the bat in the third test against Sri Lanka in Southampton, insisting it's "my time to come to the party."
While fellow opener Alastair Cook is in the midst of a record-breaking run of form, Strauss comes to the Rose Bowl having scored just 24 runs in three innings this series and only one test century in nearly two years.
In particular, Strauss has been left to bemoan his inability to turn fifties into triple-figure knocks, something he did regularly in his first years of test cricket.
"You can over-think these things but I have scored a lot of fifties without getting many hundreds and that's something I am determined to change," Strauss said on Wednesday.
"It has been one of my strengths as an opening batsman -- if you can get big hundreds it does set the side up pretty well. That's the challenge for me."
Both Strauss and Cook were honored by Queen Elizabeth II in her birthday list last weekend but the difference in their recent batting statistics couldn't be more stark.
Cook has maintained the form that earned him the man-of-the-series award in England's recent Ashes success in Australia, scoring six centuries in his last 12 innings and making five straight test fifties. Only one player has scored more test runs than Cook's 5,465 before the age of 27: Indian great Sachin Tendulkar.
Strauss, meanwhile, has struck 10 fifties and one hundred in his last 33 test innings dating back to July 2009 and averages 8 this series, having been trapped lbw by left-arm seamer Chanaka Welegedara in both innings in the second test at Lord's.
"I was frustrated with my returns at Lord's but that's the nature of the beast as an opening batsman," Strauss said. "Sometimes you get a couple of good balls early but I'm very comfortable with my own game and I'm very comfortable with us as a batting unit. Six out of seven were in fantastic fettle in the first two matches now it's my turn to come to the party, no doubt about that.
"You are never going to have all seven batsmen firing at the same time -- that's unrealistic to expect that. I just have to make sure I do all I can to get back in the runs. I'm feeling, psychologically, in a very good place and it's just a matter of not getting too caught up in things."
Strauss' troubles with the bat have been largely overlooked this series because the rest of England's top order have been in good nick.
Aside from Cook's exploits, Jonathan Trott hit a double-hundred in the first test at Cardiff, Ian Bell and wicketkeeper Matt Prior have also struck centuries while Eoin Morgan (79) and Kevin Pietersen (72) passed the half-century mark at Lord's.
With the batting department in good shape, England just needs its bowling attack to turn up this test as the team looks to clinch a fifth straight series win. AP