England v India, 2nd npower Test, Trent Bridge July 28, 2011

Determined England taking nothing for granted


England know what it is like to come to Trent Bridge and be caught out by India. Four years ago they were ambushed on the opening day by Zaheer Khan and never recovered. Ensuring no repeat of that is now top of Andrew Strauss's agenda as England aim to show the ruthlessness that can take them to the top of world.

The situation in 2011 is quite different for both teams compared to what they faced in 2007. For starters India have some major injury issues - and theirs far outweigh the potential loss of Chris Tremlett for the hosts. Zaheer has already been ruled out, they were already missing their most destructive opening batsman and now could lose their second senior opener as well. Meanwhile, England are buoyant after their 196-run victory at Lord's rather than frustrated after being denied by India's tail and the weather.

When things go bad for cricketers and cricket teams the players often claim not to take much interest in the media, but the praise being lavished upon Strauss's team since Lord's has been noticed. Yet they are only too aware how quickly fortunes can change and after enjoying their success in the dressing room on Monday evening it's now in the past.

"I'm not getting carried away," Strauss said. "If you are too self-satisfied you can get caught out pretty badly on the pitch. We came into the 2007 game pretty confident having just missed out at Lord's but got surprised on the first day. We were in trouble from ball one and India never let us back in the game.

"They showed their competitiveness and showed they weren't in England just to make up the numbers. I'm sure this side is very similar. I think we are better prepared to put in another good performance having won before because we did in Australia, but we aren't taking anything for granted."

That 2007 series also became increasingly bad-tempered with the infamous jelly-bean incident on this ground which left tensions frayed on both sides. Sreesanth, who is the likely replacement for Zaheer, was then involved in a number of heated moments but Strauss doesn't see this series going the same way.

"We've learnt our lesson," he said. "The guys are more mature now and understand their responsibilities. They understand things like that don't help the team win. It was a silly little thing, it won't be repeated."

At Lord's England were dominant for all bar one session, when Ishant Sharma rattled the top order on the fourth morning to leave them 62 for 5, and even though the end result was emphatic it is moments like that which Strauss wants to eradicated in the quest for perfection.

"We can still get far better at being more consistent," he said. "Being 60 for 5 in the second innings wasn't ideal - I don't think we should have let India back in the game - but it's an ongoing process. You can always improve, we could have caught better at Lord's, and it's very hard to put in the absolutely perfect performance. The key is to be good enough, often enough to win matches consistently."

During England's upward curve in Test fortunes since Strauss and Andy Flower took permanent charge in 2009 there has still been the propensity to suffer a rapid reversal after seemingly being in control. Twice against Australia, at Headingley and Perth, they have been heavily beaten with a major goal within sight (in that case either regaining or retaining the Ashes) and last summer they succumbed to Pakistan at The Oval having comfortably reached 2-0 ahead. India, it should be remembered, are still No. 1 and have some very fine cricketers who are capable of levelling the series.

"I think they are going to come back hard at us, their record certainly backs that up. We are expecting them to raise their performance and we have to raise ours accordingly," Strauss said. "We did a lot of things right at Lord's but had to work hard for the victory and have to be prepared to do the same again. They'll want to show they were better than at Lord's."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Raj on July 29, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    Let us play unlimited number of IPL matches,and by doing so majority of players are unfit for the international matches.even our players never get injuries when they play in IPL but in international matches ,and they even had guts to boycott the WI series-" Well Done BCCI"

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2011, 12:43 GMT

    A serious development. The umpire's decision is final. Players can appeal. The umpire gets the message from the way u appeal. I have always been agst players asking umpires to xplain their decisions. Umpires should not allow it. And so we have the Broad/ Bowden situation & more recently the Kumar/Erasmus situation. Things can get nasty 1 of these days. ICC pls act before its 2 late. We love this game.

  • sunny on July 29, 2011, 9:35 GMT

    @mesquite ice:Theres no place for ifs and buts in cricket.stop searching for excuses and just admit that we were beaten by a much better prepared english team......what if zaheer had not played the IPL and instead toured west indies.what if sachin had done the same.i know they would have been somewhat lighter in the pockets but at least they would have been better prepared for a series of this level.....

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2011, 7:21 GMT

    England doesn't even command the 3rd spot leave alone the first spot. First of all a no. 1 team is not about winning one team or one series at home. You have to play at home, at the opponents home and at a neutral venue. That to me is a test of class. I don't see English cricketers any less capable than Indian cricketers but seem to be a mechanical side. They usually don't have players with big hearts (great to see swann and broad try to do it) and feel that the result is everything. Just imagine if broad pulled a hamstring after picking up the first 2 wickets and they have lack of practice, and pieterson has a viral fever, assume strauss had not yet recovered from a shoulder surgery, and trot bruised his elbow, the English team would have just surrendered meekly. I back kiladisher's point. If England inspite of all this doesn't win the series 3-0, then England should be ashamed about themselves. And to all the dhoni retractors, wait for a roller coaster ride through this season

  • Grant on July 29, 2011, 7:16 GMT

    There is something for England fans in this idea that losses with an injury depleted team somehow don't count. We could then try to pretend that the 2006/7 ashes didn't happen, which I've been trying to do ever since.

  • sudharsan on July 29, 2011, 6:39 GMT

    People comment here that india doesn't have backup players. I am not here to comment on giving excuses like others. Yes Indian have lot of problems and cannot be given excuses. ENG payed really well and they deserved the victory at lord's. They say that bresnan can easily replace tremlett. Just think of a situation where Swann gets injured? who will be the replacement for cook or strauss or trott or prior if they gets injured. Yes, There will be replacements but will it be so effective as trott or cook or prior. Just in Fast bowling ENG seems to have replacements. Yes Indians were underprepared, didn't play like no.1 team. But that doesn't mean that ENG has replacements at all batting postions. ENG seems to be a well settled team when only all their top 11 palyers available.

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2011, 6:01 GMT

    I don't know why people are anointing England as the best team/no 1 already. Even if their recent results are good, by and large, they are at home. Obviously, India's record is superior to them till date. In fact, don't forget, India won the last series vs (and in) England. England's noticeable away series victory was in Australia, and it is true that India has not yet achieved it, but very little else to show outside home. Why, they had lost to India in India in last series, too. India has won last two series in WI and from what I recall, England did not win their last series in WI.

  • John on July 29, 2011, 3:12 GMT

    Excuses, excuses, Khiladisher. What will it be this time? I'm sure you'll come up with some reason why England thrashing India doesn't mean India lost.

  • Matthew on July 29, 2011, 2:59 GMT

    khiladisher - you are talking rubbish! If the Indian players are not fit enough or prepared for a test series they don't deserve to win! England's victory was not hollow and will be followed up with a more resounding victory this weekend!

  • Paul on July 29, 2011, 1:49 GMT

    khiladisher England will deserve number 1 if they win. All these Indian excuses about injury. Just shows that theres no back up for India unlike England who will easily replace Tremlett. We have other bowlers lined up for his spot.

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