India can draw inspiration from Nottingham win four years ago (Preview)

July 28th, 2011 - 7:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Gautam Gambhir Nottingham, July 28 (IANS) India should draw inspiration from their 87-run win here four years ago when the world’s top Test team takes on England in the second cricket Test at Trent Bridge here Friday.

To add to India’s big 196-run loss in the first Test at Lord’s, they were done in by injuries to opening batsman Gautam Gambhir, pace spearhead Zaheer Khan and batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar’s viral infection.

While the not-fully-fit Zaheer has more or less been ruled out by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni himself, Gambhir and Tendulkar have been declared fit for the match. Zaheer, who pulled a hamstring bowling his 14th over on the opening day of the Lord’s Test, skipped Wednesday’s nets and either Shantakumaran Sreesanth or Munaf Patel will come in for him.

India, who have always been slow starters overseas, will be looking to bounce back at Trent Bridge. Middle-order batsman V.V.S. Laxman still cherishes India’s victory here four years ago that saw them winning the series 1-0.

“We have the potential to bounce back and we have done that in the past,” Laxman said. “We lost badly against South africa in Centurion but came back strongly to draw the Test series for the first time on South African soil.”

Sreesanth though erratic is highly energetic and his ability to swing and generate pace on a bouncy Trent Bridge pitch could tilt scales in his favour. Munaf on the other hand is a safe bet to hold his end up with his immaculate line and length.

Dhoni’s other problem is the inability of off-spinner Harbhajan Singh to strike. The feisty spinner has picked up 27 wickets from his last seven matches but on the Lord’s track England batsmen played him with ease. He picked up just one wicket from 56 overs giving away 218 runs. In the absence of Zaheer, Harbhajan will have a big role to play.

Pacers Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar shouldered the attack brilliantly at Lord’s. Ishant’s fiery spell in the second innings, when England were reduced to 62 for five, raised India’s hopes, but the absence of a third seamer cost them the match.

All eyes will again be on Sachin Tendulkar, who continues to chase his 100th international century. Tendulkar, who fell cheaply in both the innings of the first Test, is in for a big innings here.

More than a hundred from Tendulkar, India need a good start and opening batsmen Abhinav Mukund wants to play his own game instead of trying to step into the shoes of Virender Sehwag, who is expected to be fit for the third Test at Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Mukund was impressive in the first innings of the Lord’s Test, scoring 49 at a decent strike rate of 55.

“It is big boots (Sehwag’s) to fill, but I want to play my own game,” Mukund told reporters.

“I don’t want to replace Sehwag. I just want to play how I want to play. If it comes off, it is going to help the team.”

For England it will be a big chance to take a 2-0 lead and that will put enormous pressure on the Indians to stay as world’s number one team. They will be banking on the good form of the pacers, but Chris Tremlett could miss the match.

The 6-foot-8-inch-tall pacer Wednesday skipped the training, owing to a stiff hamstring. The team management tried to forestall suggestions that he may be doubtful for the Test, saying Tremlett was “managing his workload”. But he could be replaced by Tim Bresnan, who failed to make the cut at Lord’s, with Stuart Broad getting the nod.

Broad admitted he doubted himself ahead of the Lord’s Test but was happy to prove doubters wrong with a match haul of seven for 74 runs.

“It was pleasing to come back into this Test series and do well. Because that was the first time I’d ever been doubted, or had a lot of criticism. To be able to put that to the back of my mind and perform like I did gave me a lot of confidence - because there are going to be times again when I am taking stick,” he said.

England’s pace spearhead James Anderson, who picked up five wickets in the second innings at Lord’s, believes the visitors could be on the verge of “great things.”

“If we keep playing good cricket and concentrate on the little things that get us there, we hope the end product will be becoming the number one team in the world. It’s an overriding goal, but it’s not something we go into each game thinking about,” he said.

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