England tour of India - Cricket: India is favourite to win, admits Hussain
Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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Bangalore: England captain Nasser Hussain conceded on Tuesday India was firm favourite to win the third and final Test in Bangalore, but warned against ruling his team out."I can't deny India is favourite to wrap up the series, but we will be up there as well," Hussain said ahead of Wednesday's Test on the newly laid wicket at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore.Hussain's tourists, described as pathetic by former Indian great Sunil Gavaskar after the 10-wicket drubbing in the first Test at Mohali, showed remarkable resilience to draw the second at Ahmedabad last week.England, already without four top stars who chose to skip the tour, suffered a further setback before the Ahmedabad Test when star batsman Graham Thorpe withdrew due to personal reasons."We are a very inexperienced team and this tour is a great learning process for the boys," Hussain said. "I am delighted at the way the team has adjusted together to the conditions, but we all know India holds the aces when it plays at home."We are still in the series only because India did not wrap up the second Test. But now that we have a chance, we should make the most of the opportunities," the England captain said.Hussain believed the new wicket looked similar to the one at Ahmedabad easy paced with slow turn later on. "It should be good for two to three days, and then it will take turn," he said."It is important that we play the first innings well, so that there is no pressure later in the match." The Test will be the first international fixture since the square was dug up in June and re-laid with brick and mortar, adding to the suspense in both camps how it would play over the next five days."It's a sporting wicket," curator Kasturi Rangan said before letting the cat out of the bag, "It will turn from the second day." England will retain the same side that played at Ahmedabad, with off spinner Richard Dawson continuing to provide support to left-armer Ashley Giles.Giles will be encouraged by the fact that during the last Test played at this venue, South Africa's left-arm spinner Nicky Boje grabbed five wickets to lead his team to an innings victory.India will as usual bank on spin twins Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble to provide them a 2-0 score line in the series. Kumble needs one more wicket on his home ground to join Australia's Shane Warne, Sri Lanka's Muthiah Muralitharan and West Indian Lance Gibbs as the only spinners in the 300-wicket club.