England v India, 3rd Test, The Oval August 7, 2007

Harmison puts faith in Tremlett

Cricinfo staff



Heights of fancy © Getty Images

England need to bounce back at The Oval if they are to square the series against India, and Steve Harmison believes Chris Tremlett's height will be instrumental to their fortunes.

In recent years The Oval's pitch has not been quite as lively as it was ten years ago, but Harmison - who played on the surface a couple of weeks ago - is confident that Tremlett and his 6ft 7in frame can extract sufficient bounce to trouble India.

"If Chris Tremlett bowls at The Oval as he did at Trent Bridge then England will win," Harmison told The Guardian at an event run by Chance to Shine in Ashington. "I played on that pitch for Durham and it is perfectly suited to Chris with lots of bounce. It was the bounce he got that upset the Indians at Trent Bridge and the wicket at The Oval is just right to get results."

Tremlett, Harmison's deputy, has made an encouraging start to his Test career and picked up six wickets in his second Test at Trent Bridge. In India's first innings, on a flat surface, he chugged in for 40 overs and took 3 for 80 - proving the doubters that he has worked hard on his fitness in the past couple of years.

"The question mark that's hung over him has been if his body can hold up to Test cricket," Harmison said, "because you can't pick someone if they're going to play one Test and miss the next three. He needed a half season of solid cricket to get his body right and bowl consistently and it was great to see him bowl 40 overs at Trent Bridge. Maybe his body has grown into international cricket now.

"I toured with Chris in 2001 at the Academy and he's always looked a Test bowler; he's got it all going for him."

And Harmison welcomes the extra competition that Tremlett and Ryan Sidebottom - who has bowled with a consistency belying his inexperience - provide.

"It's been encouraging to see new bowlers come through such as Tremlett and Sidebottom and means that Hoggy, Freddie and me will have to fight for our places," he said. "Could I bowl well with Chris? The only way you'll know is to give it a chance. People might say we're very similar but you pick the four bowlers most likely to take wickets, whether they're 6ft 7in and use the bounce or 5ft 10in with swing."