Strauss - Lessons to learn
England skipper retains belief in bowlers after Oval mauling
Last Updated: 23/07/12 6:00pm
Andrew Strauss: England down but not out after losing series opener to South Africa at The Oval
Andrew Strauss has admitted England need to improve quickly after sliding to an innings defeat against South Africa at the Oval.
England went from 102-4 at the start of the final day to 240 all out shortly before tea, with Dale Steyn taking 5-56.
Much of the damage had already been done, with Hashim Amla scoring 311 not out as South Africa compiled 637-2 in response to England's first-innings 385.
"I didn't think our bowlers bowled that badly but the South Africa batsmen were good enough to overcome it on this occasion. We have to win the next two games, I have total belief we can do that."
Andrew Strauss Quotes of the week
After being comprehensively outplayed for four of the five days, Strauss hailed South Africa and revealed there is a lot of frustration in the England dressing room.
"I don't think shocked is the right word," Strauss told Sky Sports. "After day one, South Africa played some outstanding cricket and earned the right to get on top if and didn't allow us to get back into the game.
"You've got to give them a huge amount of credit for the way they played, certainly their batsmen.
"The concentration they showed was outstanding, both Amla and (Jacques) Kallis - and (Graeme) Smith actually.
"We'll have some regrets. We got ourselves a nice little foundation on day one and we weren't able to go and get on our own big score, and losing four wickets last night put us under a lot of pressure today.
Strauss - We have regrets
"(There is a) lot of frustration but there are lessons to be learned and we'll learn them before next week."
England are defending top spot in the Test rankings during the three-match rubber. South Africa need to win the series to replace England as the world number one side.
Strauss defended the performance of his bowlers and suggested the quartet of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann will be given the chance to redeem themselves in the second Test at Headingley (Aug 2-6).
"I think we have an outstanding bowling attack," said Strauss. "You have to give them credit for the way they batted but I'd still back our bowling attack to take 20 wickets on most wickets - not this one unfortunately.
"Those guys will be determined to show more of themselves in the next Test match - and I'm sure they will do.
"Conditions played a part, we didn't get the ball swinging conventionally or reverse. It was probably the best time in the game to bat but I think you have to give credit to the South African batsmen."
Strauss added: "Preparation was fine, no excuses on that front. I didn't think our bowlers bowled that badly but the South Africa batsmen were good enough to overcome it on this occasion.
"We have to win the next two games, I have total belief we can do that."