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England v India, 2nd Test, Trent Bridge, 5th day
'A heartening performance by India' - Shastri
July 31, 2007
Ravi Shastri analyses the performance of the Indian team in the second Test at Trent Bridge
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The Trent Bridge Test was an example of how a solid opening stand can lift the middle order © Getty Images

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan: Hello and thank you for joining us on Cricinfo Talk. At the end of the Test, on the fifth day, I have with me former India captain Ravi Shastri. A comprehensive victory for India, and they couldn't have asked for a better Test match.

Ravi Shastri: Very professional performance, and like I mentioned yesterday, a team effort. For me, that is the most heartening thing. Yes, there were some outstanding individual performances but when you see six-seven players contributing to the Indian win, especially after the way they played in the first Test at Lord's - it is a tremendous turnaround and very heartening.

SV: You were talking about the way the batsmen played at Lord's, it's been a collective effort here. There hasn't been a big knock, but there have been contributions right through - the performance of the openers in particular.

RS: None bigger than that because you've complained in the past, you've said that India has always struggled for opening batsmen. We've had one opening batsman doing well and the other failing, but to do well as a pair, and get you off to a start is just the platform this Indian middle order needs and they capitalised on it. Full marks to Wasim [Jaffer] and Dinesh [Karthik].

SV: Crucially for India, we have seen in the past that they tend to win the first Test and then go down in the next one. They can't afford to rest for The Oval.

RS: I don't think they will, because from where they have come back, from the brink at Lord's, to upstage England here comprehensively. That will put them in a good frame of mind. What they don't want to do is to be defensive in that Test. They have to go out there and play aggressively and positively and play naturally, more than anything else. If they get conservative, trying to protect that lead, that's when you might slip into some trouble.

There might be some spongy bounce early on [at The Oval], otherwise once you see the new ball the bounce is true - it's one of the harder tracks, and it should suit India

SV: A bit of an advantage, that they have a tour game now and they can celebrate and properly get into the mood, and then finally be charged up before the Test.

RS: And the track at The Oval - it is one of the hardest tracks in the country, the bounce is normally true. There might be some spongy bounce early on, otherwise, once you see off the new ball the bounce is true. It's one of the harder tracks, and it should suit India. Now, that they have two Test matches under their belt and, like you mentioned, another practice game at Leicester [against Sri Lanka A] - that should all help.

SV: Lastly, Ravi you have been watching Indian cricket over the years, but do you think that, in this decade particularly, the myth of Indians being poor travelers is gradually being eroded?

RS: This Test showed one and all that they are prepared to compete and be aggressive. I think what was really, for me, heartening was the aggression shown by the fast bowlers. That is the kind of aggression that you need to show, because then it rubs off on the others. They got under the skin of the England batting line-up, and it made a difference.

SV: Thanks a lot Ravi, thanks a lot for joining us. This is Siddhartha Vaidyanathan signing off from Trent Bridge.

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