One-day series, a gain for both India, England

Written by: Mamatha Maben
Published: Friday, February 1, 2002, 16:58 [IST]
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Bangalore: With the series interestingly poised at 3-2, the last game of the series holds a lot in store. Thus far the matches have been fiercely fought (although the one at Kanpur was relatively easier) and going by the determination of the English contingent the Mumbai encounter promises an evenly matched contest.

There have been quite a few positives thus far with both teams being equal beneficiaries. For the home side the blossoming of Dinesh Mongia serves as a major gain along with the whiff of fresh breath that Ajay Rathra brings with his presence behind the stumps and more importantly with his batting skills. Sehwag too has gone on from strength to strength and Kaif's knock in his first outing gives India a lot to look at.

For the home side, Collingwood would most definitely rank as a fruitful venture and so would Flintoff's hand in the bowling department and lately his big hitting with the bat. Snape's hand too could be considered among the positives. England's fielding has been top draw barring a few momentary lapses. Ashley Giles' effort would be a heartening one from England's point of view.

What now remains to be seen is how these two teams build on their gains. Both India and England, for sometime now, have been struggling to find their way up to the top and both teams have been working towards it. With the World Cup not too far away they will now be looking to put up a winning combination in a year's time.

From India's point of view, the return of Dravid should give it a lot of options with the batting and if Ganguly and can come to terms with his weakness with the shot pitched stuff then India could be a formidable force.

With Hussain at the helm, the English are definitely growing in confidence and stature. And if Hussain can have the services of his full squad at his disposal then England could prove a match for any side.

However, India and England have a lot of room for improvement. India has to work a lot on its fielding and pretty hard at that. Its bowling department is looking much sharper with Srinath and Agarkar finding newfound vigour. If only India can find itself the right man at the helm who can instill oneness, solidity and a drive to be achievers, this unit could work wonders.

England, for its part, needs to continue the good it has been thus far doing - considering it was deep in the dumps for a good measure of 15 years. Its chart has definitely been progressive and with a bit of fortune could get right on top.

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