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Strauss praises Harmison display

LONDON: England skipper Andrew Strauss was delighted to see Steve Harmison return to top form after his match-winning display in the second Test.

Fast-bowler Harmison took 11-76 to become the first man to take 10 wickets in an Old Trafford Test since Jim Laker against Australia 50 years ago.

"The wicket suited our bowlers better and Steve Harmison was the difference between the two sides," said Strauss.

"It was great to see him coming back to form - he was outstanding."

Strauss, who will skipper the England team for the next two Tests in the absence of Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff, also praised spinner Monty Panesar, who took 8-93.

"Monty did everything that he was asked and bowled like an experienced spinner," said Strauss.

"We can take a hell of a lot of positives from this match and hopefully the Headingley pitch will also suit our bowlers.

"A lot of things went our way but we were magnificent. It was a pleasure to captain the team because of the way they applied themselves."

Harmison, meanwhile, thanked Old Trafford groundsman Peter Marron for serving up a lively wicket as promised.

Surprisingly, Harmison's 11-76 was his first 10 wicket haul in Tests

"I was glad we lost the toss as I fancied my chances to get bounce out of the pitch," said the Durham paceman.

"The more I bowl the more consistent I get and I felt it coming back during the Lord's Test.

"But Monty [Panesar] was awesome. A lot of things have been said about him but he just gets better and better."

England coach Duncan Fletcher, although satisfied with his side's display, warned against complacency going into the third Test at Headingley starting on Friday.

"The victory gives us confidence but we don't want to be complacent - there's a lot of cricket still to play," said Fletcher.

"Harmison and Monty were given a wicket that was useful to them and they used it to their advantage.

"We've been promised bouncy wickets for a long time but this is the first one we've had in England for a long time."

Panesar, who acknowledged that Pakistan's batsmen were "very good players of spin" said the key to his success was not trying to experiment too much.

He said: "I was just trying to get the ball in the right area, apply pressure and stay patient.

"There was turn there but I was just keeping it simple, not trying to bowl magic balls.


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