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Andrew Strauss wants to put a smile on the nation's face

England captain Andrew Strauss has said that his side could banish the hurt and pain of the last few days' rioting and looting by beating India in the third Test match at Edgbaston. That would be somewhat overstating cricket's popularity, but there you go.

The England side had to stay in their hotel on Monday night after rioting kicked off in the centre of Birmingham, and now they hope to put a smile back on the nation's face: how sweet is that? It won't make the slightest bit of difference to the people affected by the rioting of course, nor will it address the problems that led to the explosion of violence and looting, but we can all pretend, can't we?

'This is a chance to put a feel-good factor into the papers,' said Strauss. '(We can) show not everything is bad out there. Let's divorce the match from what is going on in the country.

'Clearly, it's not our proudest moment as a country. When you watch those things on the TV it's horrific. We've got to prepare to play a game of cricket though. It's for other people to deal with what's going on at the moment - and if we can take people's attention away from what's going on that's a good thing.'

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