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England v India, 2nd Test, Trent Bridge, 3rd day
`Kumble is the key' - Shastri
July 29, 2007
Ravi Shastri discusses the third day of the 2nd Test at Trent Bridge
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Anil Kumble will be the key for India as he will get bounce off the pitch and it won't be an easy task of England to bat out one and a half to two days © Getty Images

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan: Hello and thank you for joining us on Cricinfo Talk, I am Siddhartha Vaidyanathan and joining me at the end of the third day's play at Trent Bridge is former India captain Ravi Shastri. Ravi, an imposing position for India to be in and from here on they just need to dictate terms. But, to start off with, a good solid all-round batting performance.

Ravi Shastri: Yes, and they strung one partnership after another which is just what the doctor would have ordered as far as India were concerned. It was a bright sunny day which meant that batting conditions were good, and each of the batsmen, when they got in, made sure that he carried on and got a big score.

I thought the partnership between [Sachin] Tendulkar and [Sourav] Ganguly was the one that really set the tone for the rest of the day. I was really impressed with the way Ganguly batted, because he is a fighter and he has got all those qualities into play. He looked positive from the outset and at times even more solid than Sachin Tendulkar in that first hour of play. What I liked was that he played according to the situation of the game. It is very easy to be playing for yourself - get bogged down and try and get a score on the board - but, what he did was to play the shots from the outset and that rubbed off on Tendulkar as well, who I thought was a bit lucky in that first hour of play.

Ryan Sidebottom bowled magnificently without much luck. But, as the day progressed, Tendulkar got into his stride and was batting beautifully, and against the run of the play both these batsmen were dismissed, but not before putting India in a very very strong position.

SV: None of them of course went on to get hundreds. But it must be pleasing for India that there was contribution right through, right from the top.

RS: I rather prefer a batting performance like this, than counting people's hundreds. If you put up 400 runs on the board in this fashion, where it is a team effort, then it is always more heartening. Having said that, the conditions were a lot different than they were on day one. When the sun came out, the track had dried out a lot more. There wasn't much lateral movement and there wasn't much swing as well - but having said that, the ball did enough today, whereas on another day England could have picked up the remainder of wickets a lot cheaper then they actually did.

SV: One specific point that I want to touch on is Tendulkar - the way he was handling the spinner, Monty Panesar and looking to play for more with the bat.

RS: Yes, and he was also using his feet which one has not seen for a long long time, which is good. Really, the session after lunch could well have been the session when you saw the best of Tendulkar. Unfortunately, he was dismissed. Ganguly, who looked good for a hundred, was also dismissed in unfortunate circumstances - nicking one down the leg side. But, I think overall, you can't ask for anything better than this - there was one batting performance after another. In the end, [they have] a lead of around 300.

SV: Lastly, two days left in the match, still a good pitch, but you see [Anil] Kumble playing a big role in the next two days?

RS: Definitely, just like when [Chris] Tremlett bowled, there was some variable bounce and I see the same thing happening, as the game progresses, with Anil Kumble - he is a key man. He is tall, he will get the bounce and it will be a test of character, as far as England are concerned. It is not easy to bat out for one and half to two days. It is something that they are not used to, [something] they have not done this summer - they have always been on top. This will be a real test of character, it is not impossible - like I mentioned, the conditions are a lot better for batting. What is important, from England's point of view, is that the sun should come out, because if it is overcast then the ball will swing.

SV: Thanks a lot Ravi. This is Siddhartha Vaidyanathan signing off from Trent Bridge.

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