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Dawson admits to steep learning curve

England's left-arm spinner concedes he has struggled with the step up to international level

Left-arm spinner Liam Dawson has admitted he has found the step up to international cricket a challenging one as England prepare for Thursday's third Test against South Africa. 

After making his Test debut in India last December, Dawson took two wickets in each innings of the first Test against the Proteas at Lord's, before bowling just 18 overs and taking one wicket in the second at Trent Bridge. 

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The left-arm orthodox bowler's numbers have been satisfactory but he has been frustrated by his lack of impact to date. 

"From a personal point of view, (the first two Tests) have been hard work," Dawson said. 

"At international level, I'm still learning a hell of a lot. 

"It's such a difference in standard compared to domestic cricket.

"I've found it tough and I haven't performed how I know I can for Hampshire, which is frustrating."

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The decision to bat wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow in the top six, as well as the genuine allrounder statuses of Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali, affords England a considerable luxury with their bowling attack. 

Dawson has benefited from that luxury so far in this series, with he and Moeen providing skipper Joe Root two spinning options as well as a lengthy tail; Dawson is an accomplished first-class batsman in his own right, with eight centuries to his name.  

But after England were rolled for 133 in their second innings in Nottingham, losing the Test by a mammoth 340 runs, there could be a school of thought that it would be prudent to select an extra specialist batsman, in the form of the uncapped Dawid Malan.

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Dawson made a pair in the series opener at Lord's before adding 13 and 5no at Trent Bridge, and the 27-year-old recognised he is now fully immersed in the fishbowl of international sport, where every move is critiqued and discussed. 

"I've always thought looking from the outside, that media (scrutiny) is a massive part of international cricket," he said.

"They're there to have their opinions. When you do well, everyone's a hero and when you don't do well, everyone's the worst player. But that's part of international sport and you just have to try to get on with it."