India face do-or--die clash against England

Published: Saturday, September 1, 2007, 0:00 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

London: England aim to wrap up one-day series while India look to stay alive when they lock horn in the fifth of the seven-match NatWest series at Headingley, Leeds on Sunday.

Hosts' confidence is high following Thursday's three-wicket win at Old Trafford that earned them 3-1 lead in the series.

"This is a great bunch of lads - very talented, smart cricketers and we feel we're moving in the right direction," said all-rounder Ravi Bopara.

England likely to field unchanged squad, but India must wait for a fitness check on paceman Zaheer Khan (twisted ankle).

The tourists had a great chance to level the series at Old Trafford after reducing England to 114 for 7, but then let their opponents off the hook as Bopara and Stuart Broad shared a match-winning partnership of 99.

"I've never really been in a run-chase situation like that with Essex, but I have with England in the World Cup and I used that," said Bopara.

"I thought out there that this was a similar situation and I didn't want to go through the disappointment of not finishing it off this time - you learn from your mistakes I guess and I didn't want to fall short again.

"I don't think too much about the end result (in situations like that), I just think about what I need to do at the time and that helps me stay calm," Bopara explained.

"All you need to think about in that situation is let's get 10 more runs, and when you get that 10 you just have to get 10 more."

Bopara believes England must be "ruthless" at Headingley and cannot afford to let their guard down against an undoubtedly talented Indian team.

Captain Rahul Dravid believes India thrive in must-win scenarios as they bid to stay alive in the NatWest Series.

India cannot afford to lose again in the seven-match series, starting at Headingley Carnegie on Sunday, having fallen 3-1 behind to Paul Collingwood"s revitalised England.

But the Indians have a capacity for overturning deficits, most famously when they beat Australia in a Test series six years ago and most recently when they came from 1-0 down to defeat South Africa in limited-overs cricket earlier this summer.

“We have played some of our best cricket when we"ve had our backs to the wall," said Dravid.

“We have spoken about that but it is a case of going out and executing it.

“We want to finish what has been a pretty good tour for us strongly.

“We know we have our backs to the wall here but the boys are also aware that the games were close.

“If a few things went this way or that way the scoreline could be very different. So that is at the back of our mind."

The good news is Sachin Tendulkar is in good touch with three half centuries and remains the most prized wicket for England's bowlers.

His opening partnership with Sourav Ganguly has failed to sparkle so far, managing stands of 17, 35 and 15, but India are likely to stick with old gaurd to open their innings.

"You want your best players facing the most number of balls and they've been the most successful opening pair for us all these years.

"They've had a lot of success and when we've tried to move them around it probably hasn't worked as well," said skipper Rahul Dravid, himself going thro lean patch but for his 96 at Bristol he has failed to register good scores.

Skipper Dravid and Dhoni need to fire on all cylinders in make-or-break tie 'morrow.

However sloppy fielding still remains a concern for India. We haven't seen such an erratic and shoddy display by Indians in the recent past. This is one area tourists need to come up with improved show 'morrow.

India likely to give either Robin Uthappa or Rohit Sharma a chance in place of Dinesh Karthik, who had a miserable series with only 49 runs under his belt in four games.

Munaf Patel may come in for Zaheer if the latter fails to recover in time.

The Yorkshire ground has been a lucky one for India in the past with three wins in four previous meetings, but it was England who came out on top the last time in 1996 after dismissing the tourists for just 158.


India: Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly,Karthik, Rahul Dravid (Capt), Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (wk), Ramesh Powar, Piyush Chawla, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh, Munaf Patel, Ajit Agarkar, Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma.

England (likely): Alastair Cook, Matthew Prior (wk), Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood (capt), Andrew Flintoff, Ravi Bopara, Owais Shah, Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Monty Panesar.

ThatsCricket (with inputs from Agencies)

Related Stories

Broad, Bopara help England clinch a thriller
Bell, Anderson power England to easy win
India draw level despite Mascarenhas' heroics
Clinical England annihilate clueless India
Fixture: India-England ODI series



Read more about: england
Write Comments