India in England 2011 July 14, 2011

Scene set for first battle of the Indian summer

India's opening tour match against Somerset will give a first glimpse of what could become one of the most intriguing battles of the summer: Andrew Strauss versus Zaheer Khan
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England and India begin their Test series next week at Lord's, but there will be an early taste of what's on offer when the tourists play their three-day match against Somerset. And that's not just because it will be a chance to see MS Dhoni's team, but because it is set to be round one of Andrew Strauss versus Zaheer Khan.

It's not a contest that will decide the series - England are good enough to win without Strauss's runs and India have other bowlers besides Zaheer - but it's an intriguing head-to-head. Strauss has issues with left-arm quicks and Zaheer is the best in the business. For both players Taunton is important; Strauss ideally needs a decent score before the Test series and Zaheer needs miles in his legs having not played since the IPL.

The two sides are, of course, seeing the opportunity very differently. Strauss is playing down the significance of the outing, suggesting he would need it even if he had scored plenty of runs against Sri Lanka rather than the 27 he managed in four innings, but there was a hint from Duncan Fletcher that India see it as a chance to make an early mark.

"If he gets out early there's a chance we'll have something over him, but I believe our bowlers are pretty confident at the moment even if he does get runs," Fletcher said. "You are allowed to get runs at some stage. From our point of view we have to be careful that there are other batsmen in that side we need to look at. The problem really lies with Straussy, if he feels he has a problem it's more a concern for him than us."

MS Dhoni, meanwhile, had a wry grin when asked about his leading bowler against the England captain. "One thing for sure I won't be thinking much about Zaheer versus Strauss," he said. "Strauss will be batting and Zaheer bowling. It's good practice for both of them and we'll try to get the most we can out of this game because Zaheer hasn't been bowling for a while. Records don't play a big role."

Strauss, who spent part of the afternoon facing a bowling machine on the outfield, insists that what happens over the next three days won't have a major bearing on the series. Since the end of the Sri Lanka Tests he has played one innings for Middlesex where he made 2 against Gloucestershire and has since been restricted to net sessions.

"It's not a gamble," he said. "I've played no cricket for three weeks so it was crucial for me to be able to play some cricket this week. I don't think I've ever taken part in a Test match having not played cricket for three weeks beforehand.

"Thankfully this opportunity came up otherwise I would be probably be playing a second team game for Middlesex somewhere. What I do this week is not going to have a dramatic effect on the Test series but it will be nice to get some runs to feel confident, see a lot of their bowling and move to Lord's in a good frame of mind."

Strauss's form - and his performance against Zaheer - is just one of many potential themes that will emerge over the next five weeks, which is what makes for such an enticing prospect. It was confirmed on Thursday that if England win the series by two clear Tests they will overtake India and secure the No. 1 spot for the first time.

It has been the stated ambition of the Strauss-Flower regime to propel England to the top but now that it's within touching distance the captain doesn't want minds to wander away from the smaller goal of each Test match.

"It's possible to jump up rankings and fall back over a couple of games," Strauss said. "I think what we're looking at is to become No.1, but a little more sustained than that. It would be great if we can achieve this goal this summer. But I wouldn't say the hard work would be done then. It's one thing being No.1 in the world but quite another to be acknowledged all round as No.1 in the world."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 5wombats on July 16, 2011, 18:53 GMT

    @khiladisher "DO U REALLY THINK THAT ENGLAND HAS THE BOWLERS TO (take) THE WICKETS OF SEHWAG,GAMBHIR,DRAVID,SACHIN,LAXMAN,YUVRAJ,RAINA AND DHONI-DO NOT THINK SO ". Well, maybe England do not... but at 138/8 it appears that Somerset DO. lol.

  • anver777 on July 15, 2011, 12:11 GMT

    Ind team will surely have tough times against hi riding Eng......... a battle for the NO.1 spot in tests....so its gonna be an interesting series !!!!

  • gundapps on July 15, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    If conditions for batting are good and our senior batters bat to expected potential we can at best draw the Tests in England as I can't see the Indian bowling attack take 20 wickets in a Test against what is arguably the best Test batting line-up in world cricket on current form that England has.

  • JustIPL on July 15, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    Inida has the services of veterans and experienced players who must be under pressure to quit on a high as they have been responsible for bringing India this far. On the other hand England have more youth in their lineup and carrying their form through this series will ensure them the number one position which is us up for grab as India hold it pretty loosely. Englhand were full strength against Sri Lanka while India just finished their endeavours in the carribean without the veterans. This series will be won by the team who will not be timid as Strauss has proved by playing the warmup and facing Zaheer upfront.

  • the_blue_android on July 15, 2011, 11:34 GMT

    @Morgan Stanley, that's exactly what you guys said back in 2007. Do you still remember the score-line?

  • AlfAlpha on July 15, 2011, 11:27 GMT

    Hope living-legend Sachin does not have trouble pushing his zimmer-frame up the Lords slope.

  • bumsonseats on July 15, 2011, 11:17 GMT

    as far as 4 flat pitches. lords will be a high scoring draw.as lords always wants the 5 days of paying customers. notts and birmingham should be results wickets and surrey depending on weather should be 5 good days with maybe a result late on 5th day. other than lords most counties seem to listen to what team england want, just as team india get wickets that suits them in india. im not saying what the final result of the series will be, as the indian supporters already are forecasting. what i would say i think england will score enough runs as they did against pakistan last year, who i think have a better attack then india. so it comes to indian batters against england pace attack. if the wickets are hard with good carry, then i can see england bowling them out for about the 300 mark. all in all it should be a cracker of a series. dpk

  • on July 15, 2011, 11:01 GMT

    @ to all english fans ......compare palyers: 1. Gautam Gambhir - Cook (Both r class batsman.. no doubt having same batting style) 2. Strauss vs Sehwag/Mukund (Can compare Mukund and Strauss[becoz of his form] no compare bw sehwag and strauss...Sehwag iz king in all conditions) 3. Dravid and Trott ....Again no comparison in experience bt both having class, temparament and patience. 4. For dis slot no one can compare India in all world Teams. 5.VVS laxman - Ian Bell...Bell may be in gud form but Wat about VVS go n ask to aussies who he iz. 6. Suresh Rains- Morgan...Similar Class... gud strike rate...no matter playing any format. 7. MS Dhoni - Matt Prior.....No Comparison both hv different style of play and Dhoni hs much more under his name dan Prior. 8. Harbhajan Singh - Swan....bhajji iz new allrounder of Indian Team. dis iz all batting comparison bw 2 teams and india iz much far better then English Team.

  • on July 15, 2011, 10:38 GMT

    I will say this much for India, they produce great curries, and unlike Pakistan they do not cheat at cricket.

    Should be a good series, England to win narrowly.

  • on July 15, 2011, 10:07 GMT

    England will win 2-1 , man of the series : Alistair Cook

  • 5wombats on July 16, 2011, 18:53 GMT

    @khiladisher "DO U REALLY THINK THAT ENGLAND HAS THE BOWLERS TO (take) THE WICKETS OF SEHWAG,GAMBHIR,DRAVID,SACHIN,LAXMAN,YUVRAJ,RAINA AND DHONI-DO NOT THINK SO ". Well, maybe England do not... but at 138/8 it appears that Somerset DO. lol.

  • anver777 on July 15, 2011, 12:11 GMT

    Ind team will surely have tough times against hi riding Eng......... a battle for the NO.1 spot in tests....so its gonna be an interesting series !!!!

  • gundapps on July 15, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    If conditions for batting are good and our senior batters bat to expected potential we can at best draw the Tests in England as I can't see the Indian bowling attack take 20 wickets in a Test against what is arguably the best Test batting line-up in world cricket on current form that England has.

  • JustIPL on July 15, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    Inida has the services of veterans and experienced players who must be under pressure to quit on a high as they have been responsible for bringing India this far. On the other hand England have more youth in their lineup and carrying their form through this series will ensure them the number one position which is us up for grab as India hold it pretty loosely. Englhand were full strength against Sri Lanka while India just finished their endeavours in the carribean without the veterans. This series will be won by the team who will not be timid as Strauss has proved by playing the warmup and facing Zaheer upfront.

  • the_blue_android on July 15, 2011, 11:34 GMT

    @Morgan Stanley, that's exactly what you guys said back in 2007. Do you still remember the score-line?

  • AlfAlpha on July 15, 2011, 11:27 GMT

    Hope living-legend Sachin does not have trouble pushing his zimmer-frame up the Lords slope.

  • bumsonseats on July 15, 2011, 11:17 GMT

    as far as 4 flat pitches. lords will be a high scoring draw.as lords always wants the 5 days of paying customers. notts and birmingham should be results wickets and surrey depending on weather should be 5 good days with maybe a result late on 5th day. other than lords most counties seem to listen to what team england want, just as team india get wickets that suits them in india. im not saying what the final result of the series will be, as the indian supporters already are forecasting. what i would say i think england will score enough runs as they did against pakistan last year, who i think have a better attack then india. so it comes to indian batters against england pace attack. if the wickets are hard with good carry, then i can see england bowling them out for about the 300 mark. all in all it should be a cracker of a series. dpk

  • on July 15, 2011, 11:01 GMT

    @ to all english fans ......compare palyers: 1. Gautam Gambhir - Cook (Both r class batsman.. no doubt having same batting style) 2. Strauss vs Sehwag/Mukund (Can compare Mukund and Strauss[becoz of his form] no compare bw sehwag and strauss...Sehwag iz king in all conditions) 3. Dravid and Trott ....Again no comparison in experience bt both having class, temparament and patience. 4. For dis slot no one can compare India in all world Teams. 5.VVS laxman - Ian Bell...Bell may be in gud form but Wat about VVS go n ask to aussies who he iz. 6. Suresh Rains- Morgan...Similar Class... gud strike rate...no matter playing any format. 7. MS Dhoni - Matt Prior.....No Comparison both hv different style of play and Dhoni hs much more under his name dan Prior. 8. Harbhajan Singh - Swan....bhajji iz new allrounder of Indian Team. dis iz all batting comparison bw 2 teams and india iz much far better then English Team.

  • on July 15, 2011, 10:38 GMT

    I will say this much for India, they produce great curries, and unlike Pakistan they do not cheat at cricket.

    Should be a good series, England to win narrowly.

  • on July 15, 2011, 10:07 GMT

    England will win 2-1 , man of the series : Alistair Cook

  • on July 15, 2011, 9:53 GMT

    indians team should be like that 1) mukund 2) gambhir 3) dravid 4) tendulkar 5) laxman 6) raina 7) dhoni 8) bhaji 9) khan 10) sharma 11) sreesanth

  • Yevghenny on July 15, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    I don't know why people are saying if it is sunny england will lose, these are english conditions and England in test matches have proven they can bat long and score at a good rate. Been looking forward to this, can't wait to silence the indians!

  • on July 15, 2011, 9:40 GMT

    Very very Excited to See Dravid v/s England Pacers, Zaheer v/s Left handers (Cook,Strauss),KP v/s Left arm Spin bowler (if Yuvraj Plays).

  • KricketWicket on July 15, 2011, 9:08 GMT

    To me, if India win this test series, it will be as good an achievement as having won the world cup earlier this year. What will decide this series? I believe it will be the bowlers. I have a sneaky feeling that the Indian pacers are being underplayed, but will have a huge say in the end.

  • Tigg on July 15, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    I disagree with it being about the clash of the spinners. Bhaji has an excellent record and Swann is arguably the best around. Both will bowl well. Likewise Jimmy and Zaheer are probably the bets right and left arm swing bowlers respectively in the business and likewise will both do well.

    Both sides have top quality batting lineups, Indias is older, but more experienced, while Englands is young and hungry, but comparatively inexperienced.

    I think the real decider is going to be in 2nd/3rd seamer battle. Tremlett vs Ishant and Bresnan/Finn/Broad vs Praveen/Sree. Ishant appears to be in top form although the West Indian batting lineup is hardly the most fearsome, still, he looks good at the moment. Tremlett is also in excellent form having ripped apart Australia and Sri Lanka. The third seamer in each side is either inconsistant or unproven.

    Oh and @Rahul

    If you want fast bouncy pitches go to Aus/SA. It's green seamers in swining conditions over here.

  • bond7o7 on July 15, 2011, 8:53 GMT

    Please anyone tell me if there is the live coverage of the match in India.

  • indianzen on July 15, 2011, 8:47 GMT

    Rather than Strauss, I am waiting to see Trott Vs Ishant and Morgan Vs Praveen... and ofcourse Bajji vs peterson...

  • on July 15, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    Breaking News: After Graeme Smith (SA) becoming Zaheer Khan's Bunny, its time for strauss. Zak to strauss 3rd over, caught out at 1st slip.

  • Guernica on July 15, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    Whose crazy idea as it to play a warm up against Somerset when they have been playing a championship match for the last 4 days? Are we going to see a Somerset second XI + Strauss? That would be a shame.

  • maddy20 on July 15, 2011, 7:35 GMT

    Unlike England who depend heavily on Cook and Bell, the Indian batting lineup is full of legendary batsmen(2of them with over 12000 runs in test cricket). Hell hath no fury like Indian batsmen sledged. Ask Stuart Broad, Mitchell Johnson. As for bowling the experience of Zaheer, pace of Ishant and prodigous swing of Praveen Kumar will be more than enough to trouble the scratchy Poms. Unless we goof up big time I don't see England winning in either of the three formats.

  • on July 15, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    @Man007, whilst I don't agree with Chris Ward's comment, yours is ridiculous. To say we rely on 1 or 2 batsman, have a look at the recent form of Cook, Trott and Bell - then also add in consistent useful scores from Prior and Morgan, then consider that a player of Strauss' ability is bound to come good soon and that Pieterson's looking confident at the crease again (though admittedly not quite putting the scores together just yet). As for the bowling, how on earth do you think Anderson will be a feast for your batting line up? When the ball swings he is near unplayable and the Indians are hardly used to swinging English conditions. Tremlett is in fine form and I hardly have to comment on the quality of Swann. If our team plays like it can we will beat the Indians. Whether or not we will play like we can is another matter.

  • Bapi on July 15, 2011, 7:16 GMT

    Looking at the strength of both the teams, I feel series will be decided on how both the spinners perform in the series. If swan performs better than bhaji, then England, else India. England got Anderson and tremlet, so as India got Zaheer and Ishant. India got Dravid, Sachin, Laxman, so what, Cook, Bell playing their best cricket and Trot and Morgan also playing very good supporting role. KP is improving.

    So I feel it all comes down to Swan VS Bhaji. Who takes more wicket, he will bring victory to his team. As this is the end of England cricket season, these two spinners needs to play well.

  • on July 15, 2011, 6:41 GMT

    Being an Indian, I wish that England produces real fast bouncy pitches. And still lose. If there is still ANYONE who doubts the calibre of the indian team, let him/her be proven wrong once and for all. Here's hoping...

  • on July 15, 2011, 6:40 GMT

    india wil win....we hav a gr8 unit

  • jtstriker9 on July 15, 2011, 6:38 GMT

    I love the banter guys, but the facts are these:

    If it's grey, overcast and we don't see much sun; England to edge the series

    If it's sunny and the matches go the full 5 days; the series will be tied or India to edge it.

    I base this on the fact that India have the batsmen proven to get big totals under pressure in good conditions. In 'English' conditions, the swing bowlers will be too much for them and low scores will be a common occurrence. Although India have Zaheer, the rest of the attack is VERY ordinary and with Cook and Trott at the top to see him off, the rest will be exposed.

    My big tip, KP to fire this series as India haven't picked a left-arm orthodox spinner. No mind games to contend with, so big scores will be just round the corner......

  • Shhy on July 15, 2011, 6:27 GMT

    @Sanath-aiya... In your dreams man.. Try to win one test match in our land and then u can comment on us..

  • on July 15, 2011, 6:12 GMT

    @land India has not lost a series since 2008 june!!! Beat that!!!

  • on July 15, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    indians r going to win easily.. gud luck dhoni.. team shuld be : 1.Gambhir,2.Mukund,3.Dravid,4.Sachin 'The Legend',5.VVS Laxman,6.Raina/Yuvraj,7.Dhoni,8.Harbhajan,9.Zaheer Khan,10.Ishant Sharma,11. Praveen / Sreesanth. Raina shuld be given go ahead of Yuvraj initially, if he fails yuvi shuld be included.Mukund shuld play india need a regular opener in swinging conditions. Praveen culd be a handy option if ball is swinging, he can be deadly in such conditions.Sreesanth has to wait for his chances.

  • on July 15, 2011, 5:49 GMT

    I am desperately waiting for this mouth watering clash. I wana see sachin scoring his 100 century at lords. That would be one of the best day of my life.

  • Htc-Baseball on July 15, 2011, 5:27 GMT

    @ chris ward.. If the series ends at a boring draw, ull have to give equal if not more credit to ur english batsmen cause they are used to maintain run rates of 2-3 througout the innings and expect to bowl out the best batting line up in a session. Surely INdia with gauti VVS yuvi dhoni are far more aggressive than their counterparts.

  • adamgilly on July 15, 2011, 5:22 GMT

    @rcket180: you seem to have given up the series before it has actually started. this attitude what makes england incapable of becoming no.1. always giving excuses for the loss. be a true sportsman.

  • Htc-Baseball on July 15, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    @deepakjm.........though am indian, i feel really hard to digest ur one sided comparison mate.. raina dhoni bhaji sree ishanth are no where equal to their counterparts u have mentioned...And specially swann and tremlett are way better than baji and ishanth.... It will better trying yuvi rather raina cause this guy has shown a changed mentality at WC and a determined yuvi is far better than any in the game and given his bowling to right handers ,he shd be the automatic pick........

  • yocasi on July 15, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    Series win for England, a very confident unit with good reserve players at every position. Bounce will kill India.

  • Balajipost on July 15, 2011, 5:06 GMT

    Looking forward to the prospect of Indian Batsmen batting against Marali Karthik

  • mvsraju on July 15, 2011, 4:49 GMT

    england might be looking for some live wickets, that could easily backfire them as did for southafrica in their last series with india, they could have lost the series without for jack kallis brilliance, india traditionally known for their batting and quality spinners, but their fast bowling always look thin but no more, now they got variety in pace department zaheer can swing both ways and can reverse with old ball, ishant he can extract bounce on any wicket and he is back with more pace, munaf accurate, sreesanth ..ask pietersen how he intimidated with beamer in last series here in england which lead to his down fall.

  • on July 15, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    Indians are bad starters. With most of the players playing international game after a long break while others fresh from WI tour where the conditions were totally different, I do not see Indians doing too well in the 1st test. I'd be happy if they can manage to draw the 1st match and take on the Poms from 2nd test onwards.

  • allurikkraju on July 15, 2011, 3:47 GMT

    In my view the for 1 st test india team would be 1Gambir2Dravid3Laxman4yuvraju5sachin6raina7dhoni8bajji9zahir10Ishant11Srisanth. It will maintain the left and right combination and tempo of the team

  • allurikkraju on July 15, 2011, 3:47 GMT

    In my view the for 1 st test india team would be 1Gambir2Dravid3Laxman4yuvraju5sachin6raina7dhoni8bajji9zahir10Ishant11Srisanth. It will maintain the left and right combination and tempo of the team

  • Alexk400 on July 15, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    India has top class batting only if sehwag is there. They will fall like 9 pin if england apply pressure and field like maniac. They need someone quick to run out peiople like sachin who is slow. Patience is the key. even sachin make century ..one wicket fall many will fall.. Apply pressure constantly. Indian batsman get nervous and poke at everything. England 1-0. I am indian and england can win it 2-0. VVS laxman play bouncy ball very well but very very weak against inswingers.

  • on July 15, 2011, 3:20 GMT

    all these england supporters can say all they want, we shall see in the test series,w ho really wins! its a common practice among caucasian nations to talk their way to gain an upper hand. pity the strategy stopped working with india at the turn of the century!

  • Fast_Track_Bully on July 15, 2011, 3:18 GMT

    @Chris Ward ...keep dreaming....your batting depends on 1 or 2 players...and bowling is worst than batting...anderson will be a feast for Indians and board is in six 6s memory when he plays against India. Your team will be lucky to escape with a draw if it is rain there..otherwise just forget the series...thats all...

  • peterss on July 15, 2011, 3:11 GMT

    England should run out winners in this series and all possibilities that Somerset might be the better team in this opener. Somerset have the quality against this mediocre Indian bowling and the Indian batting is the only aspect that is gonna be difficult to dislodge.

  • landl47 on July 15, 2011, 2:34 GMT

    Slight advantage to England in the tests. Not much in it as far as batting goes; India have great batsmen but they are all at the end of their careers (Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman) or coming off injury (Gambhir, Sehwag). England are fit and, with the exception of Strauss, in form. Cook, Trott and Bell have fantastic records in the last two series. England has stronger bowling; not much in it between Zaheer and Anderson, but Tremlett, Bresnan/Broad and Swann are better than Ishant, Sreesanth and Bhaji in English conditions. If the wickets have any life I expect England to win fairly comfortably (barring bad weather); if the wickets are flat it'll be tough to get 20 wickets, so England maybe 1-0. If England win they'll have beaten every major side except NZ (whom they haven't played) and SA (whom they tied with in SA) in the last two years, with no series defeats. No other side will be able to say that, so whatever the rankings say, England will be #1.

  • deepakjm on July 15, 2011, 2:32 GMT

    Lets just do men to men Strauss vs Gambhir : Equal Cook vs Mukund. : Cook Dravid vs Trott. : Equal Sachin vs Kevin. : Sachin VVS. Vs Bell. : Equal Raina. Vs Morgan : Equal Dhoni. vs Prior. : Dhoni Bhaji. vs Swann. : Equal Sree. vs Broad. : Equal Ishant. vs Chris. : Chris Zaheer. vs James. : Equal

    Thats my guess.

  • on July 15, 2011, 2:29 GMT

    The series will be draw as India never excel in 4 match series and Dhoni has never lost a series under his captaincy

  • anish_vince23 on July 15, 2011, 2:22 GMT

    @Chris Ward Your knowledge of Cricket is very minimal. Please learn and understand before commenting.

  • retard_monkey on July 15, 2011, 2:21 GMT

    Poor Strauss. He shouldn't have played this game. He knows Zaheer Khan will get him out again. India is coming back after 4 yrs - they are much stronger than last time they came out here. England will be a stiff opposition purely because of Cook, Trott and Anderson are in the form of their lives. But hey - Form is temporary but class is permanent (this statement may apply to strauss :)).

  • on July 15, 2011, 2:02 GMT

    results depend on tracks eng groundsman prepares..if they prepares green tracks fast and bouncy tracks with bit of swing india gona win this 3-1 ,if tracks going to be flat they it will be 1-0 or 2-1 and if they prepare spinner frndly tracks it will be 2-2 just like nowadays harbhajan is better batsman and just below avg bowler and swann is better than him..if they produce lively pitches then its better for india coz this indian team plays better when there is help for seam bowlers from pitches..durban,perth,johannsberg,..just recently sa tryd by producing juicy durban track and found out why..after that in 3rd test they prepared flat track where india played well but couldnt gt20 wickets.

  • on July 15, 2011, 1:53 GMT

    i dont see england as num 1 side india is undoubhtdly best as they proved beating eng in eng last time wi in wi 2 times drew vs sa which 3rd test they dominated host sa nz in nz and also who can forget that tour to oz where they played better than aussies..england is nowhere in top 3 because they are playing 90% of their cricket ouside sub continent and yet to beat srilanka in sl and india in india..eng always tough to beat at home but avg away side just like india in 90's..i think based on current form ill rate india is the best and after india its safrica because they have STEYNgun..

  • on July 15, 2011, 1:17 GMT

    Zaheer Khan is overrated. Our batting is too deep and our bowling too strong. India have a top class batting line up but if it doesn't rain at best we'll see an England victory and at worst a series of bore-draws. India won't win.

  • on July 15, 2011, 0:56 GMT

    murli kartik should play today against Indians !! it would be an awesome contest

  • dr.thirsty on July 14, 2011, 23:30 GMT

    @blueandroid - England can't be a true #1 without beating India in India, SL in Sri Lanka. OK, so using your own logic you will no doubt agree with me that India cannot be the true #1 until they have beaten Aus in Australia and SA in South Africa? As for rankings meaning nothing, I'm tempted to agree with you. But I suspect what you really mean is that, whilst India are #1, rankings are important but if another team hits #1 then they become meaningless.

  • Sanath-aiyya on July 14, 2011, 23:26 GMT

    **To all Indian Fans** MOst Sri lankan fans all over the world and in England will be rooting for england. To us you are the new aussies. Not in terms of how many matches you win but your teams arrogant attitude.

    ECB lets make some proper cricket pitches and i hope it stays overcast so that the flat track bullies from India keep tottering about.

    I predict a 3-1 England win with KP . MOrgan . bell and cook making huge scores.

  • Deepkar on July 14, 2011, 22:10 GMT

    Chances flat pitches india 2 eng 0 indians have expirience of taking wkt on flat pitches fast pitches india 2 eng 2 as they will produce result but both teams have bowlers who can take advantage of those pitches rank turner india 3 eng 0 u know why and there is no chance of these type of pitches in eng.

  • stationmaster on July 14, 2011, 22:02 GMT

    Fast bouncy pitches please ! It's a MUCH better spectator sport when there's something in it for the bowlers - hence Headingly has seen some of the most fascinating test matches of all time, simply because the bowlers have a sporting chance as opposed to a run fest which = boring draws...

  • on July 14, 2011, 21:55 GMT

    No doubt it will be quite intresting contest. But I am confident India will come out as winner and will retain No 1 ranking. I see some people commenting India are slow starters and will loose first test. Well guys, India will go hard and try to win test #2000 which is also played at the Home of Cricket. I am not that intrested in Sachins 100 rather would love to see whole team play well against one of the best team. My trumph card is Harbhajan Singh. He will come out as leading wicket taker and will play major role. This England current linup is one of the strongest team India will facing in last 3 years or so. They have good batiing and bowling department. It will be quite facinatiing contest.

  • maddy20 on July 14, 2011, 21:46 GMT

    @Fazlanka Wanna be what team? We won the world cup and are at the top of test rankings. I think you are talking about the team that got beaten in England recently!

  • NoobishRunScorer on July 14, 2011, 21:16 GMT

    yo the_blue_android, when was the last time India won a 3-5 match test series in Australia, England, or South Africa? Is your point then that India is not a true #1 side either? Are you also claiming that the Australian side of the 90s and early 2000s up until 2004 wasn't a true #1 side either?

  • InnocentGuy on July 14, 2011, 21:14 GMT

    Hmm 2 wins clear. 4-0 seems unlikely to me. So at least a 3-1 victory for England to go to the top. But in all likelihood at least 1 test will end in a draw (my assumption). Which means, England cannot afford even 1 Indian victory, if they want to get to the No.1 spot by the end of this series. Interesting. But I'm Indian, and I'm more than certain that India will at the very worst (coz of injuries to key players or bad umpiring or whatever) lose this series 1-0 or 2-1. The worst. My gut feeling though is either a 1-1 tie or 2-1 Indian victory.

  • on July 14, 2011, 21:06 GMT

    @fazlanka I have been following your comments on many articles and it is quite apparent that you have this inferiority complex vis a vis the Indian team. You would do well to remember that SL are yet to win a test in India forget a whole series. You have your bowlers bowling no balls to deny opposition a century, you have players playing out maidens at Lords in 1 day match delaying the outcome. When you point fingers adage is bang on for you. Lot of respect for Sanga, Mahela and Murali but SL fans like you would do well to emulate the same class and poise as them.

  • 200ondebut on July 14, 2011, 21:06 GMT

    One thing that history shows is that teams do not stay at #1 once their senior players start retiring. Enjoy it while you can India because it won't last forever.

    India got lucky last time. This time their side is four years older and no stronger. England have improved and got stronger.

    We want fast bouncy wickets - then it will be game on!

  • ashes61 on July 14, 2011, 21:04 GMT

    Rocket180: 4 flat, slow batting wickets? What are you talking about? Nonsense! The main Test series in England are always sell-outs so there will be no problem with ticket sales despite the exhorbitant costs. The first 3 days only (sometimes 4) are sold in advance anyway, and the 5th day is often free of charge or only £10 a head, so there is no financial incentive to ensure the match lasts 5 days at the expense of entertainment. Lord's has been a good batting wicket in recent years & draws here have occurred. But the fact remains that draws in Tests in England are few & far between these days compared with previous eras. Nothing at all wrong with a draw, as long as it is not due to a ridiculous pitch (rare in England Tests) or overly negative play. England will certainly be going for ther jugular & I imagine India will be all out to win too. But if there are a couple of draws, which can be just as exciting as wins/defeats, so what? This is Test cricket - not mickey mouse T20.

  • Angad11 on July 14, 2011, 20:57 GMT

    @fazlanka, you mean just the way Eng spanked SL in both tests and ODI's.

  • darkknight1072 on July 14, 2011, 20:39 GMT

    I agree with Rocket 180, its all about economics now and England has done everything right to en-cash on this series. This series has been buildup to an extent where, warmup (with Somerset) match will be an sellout. India should learn a lot from media management here.

  • on July 14, 2011, 20:39 GMT

    @the_blue_android. If England can't be #1 without beating India in India then surely India won't deserve to be #1 unless they can beat England in England?

    By your logic, if England beat India, no-one will deserve to be #1.

  • CollisKing on July 14, 2011, 20:29 GMT

    As a neutral and fan of Test Cricket, I shall be glued to this series. I hope to God for the sake of the spectacle the groundsman prepare some decent Test Match pitches. i.e. what we had at The Rosebowl. Wicket's with plenty of pace and bounce that will sort out the men from the boys in both batting line-ups. Or are we going to get four batsman-friendly slow, low, useless things ? The television paymasters must have their full five-day schedule filled and the corporates happy with a knucklehead run-fest. God forbid any of these matches finish a little early because there was some "juice" in the wicket for the bowlers.

  • khiladisher on July 14, 2011, 20:19 GMT

    TAKE IT FROM ME ITS GOING TO BE INDIA-3 ENGLAND-0

  • khiladisher on July 14, 2011, 20:18 GMT

    @ FAZLANKA ,ITS CLEAR THAT THE WORLD CHAMPIONS AND #1 TEST SIDE INDIA WILL EASILY WIN THE SERIES BEATING ENGLAND 3-0,DO U REALLY THINK THAT ENGLAND HAS THE BOWLERS TO THE WICKETS OF SEHWAG,GAMBHIR,DRAVID,SACHIN,LAXMAN,YUVRAJ,RAINA AND DHONI-DO NOT THINK SO .

  • magicumesh on July 14, 2011, 19:54 GMT

    India will surely miss Viru, but they wil be tough nuts to crack on test matches. England cant win if they show same level of intensity vs sri lanka. They need more than tat.

  • Sanath-aiyya on July 14, 2011, 19:51 GMT

    Cmon Strauss...good luck england.. I m going to predict a huge series for KP and Cook.

    Lets smash this wanna be team!!!

  • the_blue_android on July 14, 2011, 19:45 GMT

    Rocket180, that sounds like the first excuse for not being able to bowl out India. England can take the # 1 spot this series but the rankings don't mean anything. They cannot be a true # 1 without beating India in India, Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka.

  • Vishal63 on July 14, 2011, 19:37 GMT

    I think it gives England a chance to show their talent. India will try to seal the series in the first 3 tests, England have a chance and need to grasp it. I think India are still the favourites with being World No. 1 in Tests and after winning a fantastic World Cup.

  • Vilander on July 14, 2011, 18:46 GMT

    Poms are talking about becoming number 1, they should be glad Sehwag is not playing the first two tests so it wont be ingloriously one sided now, just a bit one sided.

  • on July 14, 2011, 18:43 GMT

    ''Strauss c Dhoni/Dravid b Zaheer ''this line you will hear all thhs summer.

  • on July 14, 2011, 18:25 GMT

    A little dig at future opposition at the end there Andrew?;)

  • Rocket_180 on July 14, 2011, 18:09 GMT

    as the ECB will produce 4 flat slow batting wickets which will end up in non-intresting runfest it will be important all Englands batsman find form for this series as we will need to score alot of runs as a team, as unfortunely like the rest of test cricket this will become a series which is domainted by MONEY as all the groundS will make the pitches as flat as possibile to gurnatee they get 5 days of sales in the coffiers for the test match, rather than producing a decent wicket which helps both bat and ball and gives England a decent chance of winning the series

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  • Rocket_180 on July 14, 2011, 18:09 GMT

    as the ECB will produce 4 flat slow batting wickets which will end up in non-intresting runfest it will be important all Englands batsman find form for this series as we will need to score alot of runs as a team, as unfortunely like the rest of test cricket this will become a series which is domainted by MONEY as all the groundS will make the pitches as flat as possibile to gurnatee they get 5 days of sales in the coffiers for the test match, rather than producing a decent wicket which helps both bat and ball and gives England a decent chance of winning the series

  • on July 14, 2011, 18:25 GMT

    A little dig at future opposition at the end there Andrew?;)

  • on July 14, 2011, 18:43 GMT

    ''Strauss c Dhoni/Dravid b Zaheer ''this line you will hear all thhs summer.

  • Vilander on July 14, 2011, 18:46 GMT

    Poms are talking about becoming number 1, they should be glad Sehwag is not playing the first two tests so it wont be ingloriously one sided now, just a bit one sided.

  • Vishal63 on July 14, 2011, 19:37 GMT

    I think it gives England a chance to show their talent. India will try to seal the series in the first 3 tests, England have a chance and need to grasp it. I think India are still the favourites with being World No. 1 in Tests and after winning a fantastic World Cup.

  • the_blue_android on July 14, 2011, 19:45 GMT

    Rocket180, that sounds like the first excuse for not being able to bowl out India. England can take the # 1 spot this series but the rankings don't mean anything. They cannot be a true # 1 without beating India in India, Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka.

  • Sanath-aiyya on July 14, 2011, 19:51 GMT

    Cmon Strauss...good luck england.. I m going to predict a huge series for KP and Cook.

    Lets smash this wanna be team!!!

  • magicumesh on July 14, 2011, 19:54 GMT

    India will surely miss Viru, but they wil be tough nuts to crack on test matches. England cant win if they show same level of intensity vs sri lanka. They need more than tat.

  • khiladisher on July 14, 2011, 20:18 GMT

    @ FAZLANKA ,ITS CLEAR THAT THE WORLD CHAMPIONS AND #1 TEST SIDE INDIA WILL EASILY WIN THE SERIES BEATING ENGLAND 3-0,DO U REALLY THINK THAT ENGLAND HAS THE BOWLERS TO THE WICKETS OF SEHWAG,GAMBHIR,DRAVID,SACHIN,LAXMAN,YUVRAJ,RAINA AND DHONI-DO NOT THINK SO .

  • khiladisher on July 14, 2011, 20:19 GMT

    TAKE IT FROM ME ITS GOING TO BE INDIA-3 ENGLAND-0