England hope to defy expectations

England insist they can defy expectations and pull off a famously unlikely victory against South Africa at Lord's on Monday.

The hosts were already up against it, to rewrite the history books in a chase of 346 to share the Investec series and salvage their world number one status, before losing both openers with only six runs on the board. But Andrew Strauss' team still believe they can upset the odds and turn their overnight 16 for two into an ultimate success against South Africa's powerhouse attack.

"As a team collectively over the last number of years, we've enjoyed breaking records and defying people's beliefs against us," said Steven Finn. "We've got a great opportunity to assert ourselves on the South Africans early - and we really do believe in the dressing room that we can win this game."

Finn is hoping he is not required to bat, at number 11, after giving his team at least a fleeting chance on the way to figures of four for 74 in the tourists' 351 all out - a total which owed much to Hashim Amla's 121.

The key, according to Finn, will be to simply stay in the game as long as possible - and then gather momentum with wickets still in hand.

He added: "It's going to be important we try to build partnerships, get our foot in the door and then later on in the day maybe we can smash through it and win the game.

"If we get later in the game, with what can be a tired bowling attack, we know that the older ball does a lot less than the new ball."

He acknowledges third-wicket pair Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell are likely to have to play a significant part, after the loss of captain Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook to Vernon Philander.

He said: "The new ball is where it's dangerous. The two guys that are in have performed fantastically well for England for a long time....we hope they can build a big, long partnership.

"We have that belief in the dressing room. It's up to the batsmen to really knuckle down and get us into a position where we can win the game."