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Dravid backs Laxman to score big

Rahul Dravid, the Indian captain, has backed VVS Laxman to compensate for past failings in England and produce a big series this time round.

In a largely bat-dominated series in 2002, Laxman made only one fifty in six innings, averaging a touch under 40, a record Dravid believes will be rectified this time. "I back Laxman to have a big tour this time. The last time he didn't have as great a tour as the other guys. I can see that he's determined to correct it this time. He looks hungry," Dravid said.

Laxman began his tour in good shape with a sparkling 95 on the second day of a tour game against Sussex at Hove and is likely to feature in the first Test at Lord's, starting from July 19, after not being picked to play in either of the Tests against Bangladesh in May.

India will consider playing four bowlers against England - as opposed to the five they picked against Bangladesh - as Dravid said he was "pretty clear" about the top six batsmen for the first Test.

"I know my best top order. I'm pretty clear about the top six going into the first Test match. In the next game (against England 'A') we will be playing our top six batsmen," said Dravid.

With Mahendra Singh Dhoni certain to come in at number seven, India are likely to use Sourav Ganguly as the fifth bowler. Dravid pinpointed the absence of a genuine all-rounder as one reason why India didn't play with five bowlers.

"We will probably go in with four bowlers. Depending upon the weather and the pitch we will have to decide whether it's two spinners and two fast bowlers, or three pacers and a spinner. We have struggled to find an all-rounder, so it's always a tricky balance," he added.