Batting is a worry for Strauss ahead of Lord's Test

Andrew Strauss acknowledges England's batting must improve and promises it will in the fourth npower Test against Pakistan at Lord's.

Collapses from both teams have become a recurring theme of a series played under unshifting cloud cover.

And even when the skies brightened to help provide easier batting conditions at The Oval, England were evidently so thoroughly programmed to self-destruct that they suffered their worst lapse yet.

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The upshot was an unexpected victory for Pakistan, meaning the tourists have a chance to square the four-match series 2-2.

Strauss's own batting travails are beginning to shove him under the microscope, although his productivity has been acceptable since his last hundred against Australia on this ground 13 months ago.

There have been seven 50s in that time, and Strauss's liking for his home turf at Lord's has brought him four Test centuries there.

It is England's collective rather than his own personal runs output which will be the priority when play begins today between two teams who are likely to be unchanged. Strauss is not shying away from some stark evidence.

"We've won two games of cricket comfortably and lost one," said the Middlesex opener.

"But let's not run away from the fact that we need to bat better than we have done in this series.

"It would be wrong of us to just put our heads in the sand and say everything is fine.

"We need to improve as a batting unit and individual batters need to improve as well."

Defeat at The Oval last week was a shock for some observers, who had arrived at a premature conclusion that England would continue to overwhelm outclassed tourists and chalk up a record winning run before the start of the Ashes in November.

Strauss, as ever, sought to put the setback into context.

"It wasn't the worst since I became captain, because we've had some poor performances," he added.

"But we lost a game. That was disappointing, because we should have been better than that.

"We haven't batted brilliantly," he said.

"There are lessons to learn from The Oval. There is a steely determination about the group to prove that was a one-off."