Strauss hails new attacking England

DURBAN: England captain Andrew Strausshailed his players' willingness to play a more attacking brand of cricket after his team clinched their one-day international series against South Africa when the fifth and final match was rained out at Kingsmead on Friday.

England won the series 2-1, with two matches abandoned because of rain.

Australia had been the only team previously to win a bilateral series in South Africa, where the host country had won 21 out of 24 home series, including the most recent 15 in succession.

"It's a big step forward for the group," said Strauss. "To be only the second team to win out here is an achievement to be proud of."

Strauss said it had been a team effort. "The players had to buy into trying to play a slightly more attacking brand of cricket and at the same time to up our fielding and to be more consistent with the ball.

"I think the guys have enjoyed having the shackles taken off them to a certain extent. A lot of our one-day cricket over the last few years has been played like men under a lot of pressure. A lot of the players were under pressure, playing for their places and because the results weren't very good."

Strauss said, though, that much work still needed to be done by England.

"It's encouraging to know we are going in the right direction but I'd be the last person to say we're the finished article."

England's Paul Collingwood was named man of the series. He scored 193 runs at an average of 96.50, took important wickets and was one of his team's best fielders.

"It's been a great series for us and for me on a personal note," said Collingwood.

South African captain Graeme Smith said England deserved their series win. "England outperformed us in the majority of the games," he said.

Smith said his team needed to absorb the lessons from the England matches.

"Our next one-day series is in India where the (2011) World Cup is going to be played.

"Hopefully by then we will have a fully-fit squad and a squad which has developed from here."

South Africa will meet England in a four-match Test series, starting in Centurion on December 16.

"There's a break now and there will be a few new faces in our squad," said Smith. "

"The last two years have been really terrific for us in Test cricket and we want to carry it on. England have an Ashes-winning Test squad so it bodes well for a good series."

Strauss said the Test series would be a "huge challenge" for England. "It will be a series between two very good Test match sides but we can take some confidence from the one-day series."