India captain Rahul Dravid has dismissed talk that England's inexperienced attack will give the tourists an advantage as they pursue a first Test victory at Lord's in 21 years when the opening fixture in a three-match series gets underway here.
England, with Matthew Hoggard a major doubt after he was scent for a scan on a back problem on Wednesday and fellow pace bowlers Stephen Harmison (hernia) and Andrew Flintoff (ankle) already ruled out, could now field an attack with as few as 37 caps between them.
That would represent their most inexperienced bowling unit since a novice-looking line-up took the field against India in Mohali in December 2001 - a match England lost by 10 wickets.
Were Hoggard ruled out, it would mean none of the Ashes winning pace quartet - which also included Simon Jones - would be playing at Lord's. The so-called 'Fab Four' have amassed 701 Test wickets in total.
"We have got a pretty young and inexperienced bowling attack as well," said Dravid of a seam group featuring former Worcestershire quick Zaheer Khan, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Rudra Pratap Singh.
"They (England) are missing Flintoff but they were missing players in Bombay last year and still beat us."
James Anderson, who starred in that series-levelling victory, is likely to come in if Hoggard is injured.
Meanwhile at least one of Stuart Broad and Chris Tremlett will make a debut.
India boast a formidable batting line-up with Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar having complied 74 Test hundreds between them with Tendulkar responsible for a record 37 alone.
"Experience does not really count for much," said Dravid. "Performances count for everything. Everyone starts on zero, with the slate clean."
Left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, who made his Test debut, against India, less than 18 months ago, now finds himself cast in the role of senior bowler.
"Monty has bowled well, he impressed us when he came to India and he has continued to improve," said Dravid. "We are looking forward to the challenge of playing him.
"We have an experienced champion in our side in Anil Kumble and if we can play Monty well it will put a lot of pressure on their seamers."
England captain Michael Vaughan was in no doubt about Panesar's ability to rise to the challenge.
"He learns very fast and, if he gets conditions that suit, he can be very dangerous," Vaughan said. "He'll know that maybe there will be times in this series when he might have to do the holding role or might have to change his pace, come over the wicket or do some other things.
"Against good batsmen that's what you have to do and this is why it's a great learning curve for him because he's going to be tested pretty much in this series."
The two most recent Test series between the two countries, in India last year and in England five years ago, have both ended in draws.