England tour of India - Cricket: At-home Indian spin twins have reason to smile
Published: Monday, December 10, 2001, 21:43 [IST]
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England's tour of India
Ahemdabad: It took Indian spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh just one Test against England to put the smile back on their faces.Both bowlers are looking forward to the second Test starting at the Motera stadium here on Tuesday after sending down devastating spells in last week's opener at Mohali.Leg spinner Kumble grabbed eight wickets and off spinner Harbhajan seven to send Nasser Hussain's Englishmen crashing to a 10-wicket defeat inside four days in the first Test.For England, the series has revived horrors of 1993 when Graham Gooch's team succumbed to Indian spinners on turning pitches to suffer a 0-3 rout.England's nightmare began just when India's ended.Kumble is back to haunt England, having played a vital role in India's series victory against Gooch's squad with 21 wickets in three Tests."I am happy the English batsmen have a bit of trouble against me from 1993 till now. I hope it remains like that for the remaining two Tests as well," said Kumble, who has 289 wickets in 64 Tests.Kumble, 31, is not a big turner of the ball like Australian leg spin wizard Shane Warne. Nor does he flight it as much as the Australian. He unsettles batsmen with his accuracy and speed in the air and off the wicket.Kumble was at his best at Mohali since returning to international cricket after nearly a year due to a shoulder injury, keeping a testing line and length to tie the English batsmen in knots.Kumble, like India, is a major force at home, having taken 13 of his 17 hauls of five or more wickets in a Test innings in his own backyard."All he (Kumble) has to do against England is to put the ball between him and the batsman," said former India captain Sunil Gavaskar after the tourists' batting collapse at Mohali.With Harbhajan keeping pressure from the other end, England's batting woes are expected to continue."It is great to be bowling along side Harbhajan," Kumble said. "He has been bowling well for the past one year. Having him bowling at the other end gives me good competition."