Strauss issues warning

England stand-in captain Andrew Strauss says his team must learn how to handle big-match pressure if it is to be a force at next year's World Cup.

England suffered a humiliating eight-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka in the third match of its one-day series in Durham on Saturday - its eighth loss from its previous 10 internationals - and looks a long way from being a force in the West Indies in 2007.

"Every game between now and the World Cup is vitally important," Strauss told AFP.

"Sure we have injuries and there are players to come back but you don't know who's going to be injured come the time of the World Cup.

"The guys that are not necessarily in our first-choice XI at the moment, they've got to show they are up to world-class standard and so far we haven't done that.

"There's no place to hide in international cricket and this is where you see guys' real characters.

"We'll learn a few things about some players in the next few days."

England was missing six senior players against Sri Lanka, including all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and regular captain Michael Vaughan.

The tourists romped home with nearly eight overs to spare as captain Mahela Jayawardene scored an unbeaten 126 to secure the series trophy by going 3-0 up in the five-match encounter.

Ian Bell was the main England contributor with 77.

"We've still got 20 or so games to go the World Cup, plenty of time to build-up some winning momentum but you've got to start sooner rather than later," Strauss said.

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