India take on county champions in tour opener

Published: Monday, July 2, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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London:India start their three-month England tour campaign with a four-day tour game against Sussex at Hove on Saturday.

However the inclement weather poses threat to tourists much needed match practice ahead of their first Test against England at Lord's. With hardly any cricket played for about a week since their series win against South Africa, the Indians will be looking forward to field their best combination in the two warm-up games leading up to the first Test at Lord's on July 19. Test regulars Kumble, VVS Laxman, and Wasim Jaffer are almost certain to make the cut for the final XI.

The Indian top order did well to get some runs against a decent South African attack in Ireland and will be keen on continuing with that good form. Among the bowlers, Sreesanth has fully recovered from a bout of flu that ruled him out of the one-day series in Ireland, and he will be sharing the new ball with Indian pace spearhead Zaheer Khan. Rahul Dravid will also be interested in seeing how uncapped Ranadeb Bose performs in a match situation.

With the bulk of Sussex bowling attack comprosing Pak bowlers Mushtaq, Saqlain Mushtaq and Naved-ul-Hasan, the Indians can certainly expect a bit more spice added to the contest.

Sussex have banked upon Mushtaq's legbreaks to win county championships in 2003 before repeating it again last year. Mushtaq topped the wickets list in both seasons, taking 103 in 2003 and 102 in 2006.

Sussex openers, Murray Goodwin and Richard Montgomerie, are in good touch. Goodwin, 34, who played 19 Tests for Zimbabwe, made 1649 runs last season at 63.42. This season, the two openers, have scored more than 500 runs from eight games and Goodwin has three centuries to his credit, while Montgomerie has one.

Michael Yardy, Andy Hodd, and Carl Hopkinson are the others in the line-up that also includes two allrounders in Luke Wright and Robin Martin-Jenkins. Chris Liddle, Jason Lewry and James Kirtley form a decent pace-attack for Sussex.


India: Rahul Dravid (capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, MS Dhoni (wk), Yuvraj Singh, VVS Laxman, Dinesh Karthik, Ramesh Powar, Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, Gautam Gambhir, RP Singh, Wasim Jaffer, Anil Kumble, Ranadeb Bose and Ishant Sharma

Sussex: Chris Adams (capt), Murray Goodwin, Richard Montogerie, Andy Hodd (standby wk), Carl Hopkinson, James Kirtley, Jason Lewry, Chris Liddle, Robin Martin-Jenkins, Chris Nash, Matt Prior (wk), Ollie Rayner, Thomas Smith, Michael Thorney, Kuke Wright, Michael Yardy, Mushtaq Ahmed, Saqlain Mushtaq and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan.


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