Dhoni confident tempers will cool for England finale

Published: Wednesday, August 8, 2007, 10:45 [IST]
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LONDON : India wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is confident there will be no repeat of the unsporting behaviour which overshadowed the second Test when his side face England in the series finale starting at The Oval here on Thursday.

Some of the shine of India's seven-wicket win at Trent Bridge, which put them 1-0 up in the three-match series, was taken off by a series of ill-tempered episodes.

In addition to England's jellybean stunt, India's Shanthakumaran Sreesanth twice found himself involved in unsavoury incidents.

The fast bowler overstepped by several feet when letting loose a no-ball bouncer at Paul Collingwood and also delivered an illegal beamer at England batsman Kevin Pietersen.

"That was a yorker for me," joked Dhoni at The Oval here Tuesday before quickly making it clear he did not wish to downplay the incident.

"I don't know if it was deliberate or if it slipped out of his (Sreesanth's) hand. He is the only guy that knows.

"I'm glad he said sorry to Pietersen," added Dhoni as he recalled the sight of Sreesanth raising his hand in apology to the batsman.

"Things like that should be avoided. Even if it was not intentional, I think still it was pretty accurate," said Dhoni, appointed Tuesday as India's captain for next month's World Twenty20 in South Africa.

"Things like that won't be repeated. Nobody wants them to be repeated."

But he stressed there would be no lessening in intensity from either side with India seeking only their third Test series win in England, following their successes in 1971 and 1986, and the hosts looking to maintain their six-year unbeaten record in home Test campaigns. "Both teams will play good, aggressive cricket."

And England opening batsman Andrew Strauss added: "The fact there's been such a strong reaction suggests we need to make sure we're not over-stepping any marks."

Since the turn of the century India have won more Tests on their travels (16) than anyone bar world number ones in Australia (26).

But they have struggled to put away wins together in the one series and earlier this year, in South Africa, blew a 1-0 lead to lose the Test campaign 2-1.

Dhoni said it was vital India did not get ahead of themselves. It's just about breaking the game into small sessions. It looks like a bouncy track but it turns later on so hopefully the spinners will come into play."

That could see India play an extra slow bowler in off-spinner Ramesh Powar alongside leg-spinner Anil Kumble.

Another option could see tall seamer Ranadeb Bose, who took five wickets in the drawn tour match against Sri Lanka A last week, included.

"Getting a win over here would be really great," said Dhoni. "Winning a series against a good side at their place is really tough."

England suffered a scare Tuesday when Pietersen missed training with a high temperature and had to be put on a course of antibiotics.

Middlesex's Owais Shah would appear to be the next batsman in line if Pietersen, who will be reassessed on Wednesday, was declared unfit.

Last weekend the England selectors named an unchanged squad from the 12 they picked ahead of the second Test.

But giant fast bowler Stuart Broad, the son of former England opening batsman Chris, could make his Test debut in place of James Anderson who returned disappointing figure of one for 157 in 42 overs in Nottingham.

England have had problems at the top of the order with Strauss, who hasn't scored a Test hundred for a year, and fellow opener Alastair Cook yet to post a century stand together.

"I feel pretty comfortable about my game at the moment," said Strauss, who scored 96 in the drawn first Test at Lord's where bad light and rain came to India's aid with England needing just one more wicket for victory.

"One of the reasons why we haven't put on many runs is because I haven't been in great form.

"We've got a lot of 30-50 partnerships. We've done the hard work, so there's no reason rationally why we can't go on and get big scores together."

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