हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

England wary of India batting backlash

Published: Thursday, July 26, 2007, 18:37 [IST]
 
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Nottingham:India's much lauded middle-order quartet may have failed to score a fifty between them during the drawn first Test but England fast bowler Chris Tremlett believes that could change come the second match of the series, starting at Trent Bridge here.

There had been much talk leading up to the enthralling contest at Lord's as to how England would cope without the 'fab four' of Stephen Harmison, Matthew Hoggard, Simon Jones and Andrew Flintoff, their bowling quartet that regained the Ashes in 2005, in what was the hosts first Test without any of them since that dramatic series win against Australia.

But after the recalled James Anderson, who took a Test-best five for 42 in the first innings, led an attack featuring left-arm quick Ryan Sidebottom, debutant Tremlett and left-arm spinner Monty Panesar to within a wicket of victory, the attention switched to India's 'fab four'.

India captain Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman managed just 192 runs between them at Lord's.

However, it was a similar story during India's last tour of England in 2002 when a modest opening Test tally of 259 was followed by the quartet compling a further 1,294 runs between them in the next three Tests including five hundreds and five fifties.

Tremlett, a late call-up for the injured Matthew Hoggard at Lord's, was England's most successful bowler in the second innings with three for 52 before bad light and rain ended play just before tea with India nine wickets down.

"They are obviously great players and it would be stupid to say they are losing their touch," said Tremlett.

"I played for England Lions (the national A side) against India and Sachin made a hundred and he looked class," explained the 6' 7" seamer, set to be a member of an unchanged England side.

"He still looks a very good player," added Tremlett, who modestly omitted to mention that he had had Tendulkar, who went on to make 171, twice dropped off his own bowling, on 39 and 53, during that warm-up match at Chelmsford which took place the week before the Lord's Test.

Not that Tremlett was overawed by the prospect of facing four of the world's best batsmen again, in the second of a three-Test series, after being part of arguably England's best collective bowling display since 2005.

The fast bowlers guided by South Africa pace great turned England bowling coach Allan Donald, were rewarded for adhering to the old-fashioned virtues of line, length, late swing and well-directed hostile bowling.

"As a group in this Test we were very aggressive and worked together as a team. We did get in their faces. We didn't make them feel comfortable," Tremlett said.

Ganguly gave India an injury scare when he took no part during Wednesday's practice session because of a back problem that hampered the left-hander at Lord's.

The Indian team's spokesperson did not say much about the injury but confirmed ''Sourav has a slight lower back strain.''

The former captain was clearly hampered by a back problem during the second innings of the first Test at Lord's and was unable to take part today's net practice which was moved to the National Academy at Loughborough because of persistent rain at Nottingham.

If he is ruled out, then Yuvraj will replace the 'Bengal Tiger' as India look for a vastly improved batting performance after surviving with only wicket in hand against England's rookie attack.

But Yuvi is confident the team will make the most of their fortunate escape in the first Test.

He said, ''The mood has been good. Obviously we are disappointed that we didn't get many runs on the board at Lord's but a draw is a draw,'' Yuvraj was qouted as saying by PA Sports.

''The bowling has been good generally but in terms of the batting we need to put together some big partnerships and we are looking forward to doing so."

''In fairness the Lord's wicket was strange. On the first day it was quite a good pitch to bat on but after the rain it suddenly changed,'' Yuvraj said.

Yuvraj believes India can take heart from the mountains of runs they scored on their last visit to this country in 2002 for a Test series after a poor start.

''We have played over here before in England and know things like that can happen. We are well prepared. All our batters are geared up and we know that we need to get a big score on the board,'' he said.

On that occasion Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar managed just 259 runs behind them during the first Test.

But in the remaining series, the quartet amassed 1,294 runs with five centuries and five fifties.

The middle-order batsman added, ''The last time we toured here all our batsmen got big runs. We know what to do. We are prepared. We just need to go out and perform.''

''Be assured that no-one takes their game lightly whether it is a junior or senior player. This is a fresh start. The first Test match is already gone. It is a new day and a new Test and anything can happen,'' the dashing left-hander said on their approcah to the second Test match.

''We believe if we have good partnerships from the top four then we can go on a run chase. But if we lose early wickets then we will settle for a draw. That's how the other teams approach things,'' Yuvi justified.

England's batsmen looked fallible against India left-arm quicks Zaheer Khan and Rudra Pratap Singh and it was only thanks to Kevin Pietersen's second innings 134 that the tourists were put on the backfoot.

And if one of India's batting stars comes off at Trent Bridge, England could yet rue their failure to take just one more wicket at Lord's.

Squads:

Rahul Dravid (capt), Sachin Tendulkar (vice-capt), Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthick (standby wk), Gautam Gambhir, Sourav Ganguly, Venkatsai Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Dhoni (wk), Zaheer Khan, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ishant Sharma, Ranadeb Bose, Anil Kumble and Ramesh Powar.

England: Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Michael Vaughan (capt), Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell, Matthew Prior (wk), Ryan Sidebottom, Monty Panesar, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Tremlett.

Agencies

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