Thursday, Sep 05, 2002
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The Indians hold the psychological edge going into the decider at the Oval. The Headingley victory, I am sure, would have lifted their spirits, and once again, they have to shut out everything else from their minds and concentrate solely on the Test. The focus has to be there.
It would only be in our interests if we continue to attack, and it was this aggressive approach, both, with the bat, and on the field, that rewarded India so handsomely in the third Test.
The Englishmen appear a rattled lot and the Indians will have to keep the pressure on them. Sourav Ganguly and his men would not receive a better opportunity to register a major series win abroad. They have to cash in on the chance.
I am not worried about the Indian batting. It appears in wonderful shape and going by the manner Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly have gone about their jobs in the last two Tests, more runs should flow from their blades.
Tendulkar is all set to play his 100th Test, and it will be a wonderful achievement by this great cricketer. It makes me proud that I was the captain when he made his Test debut in Pakistan, '89. Actually, when I take a look at his outstanding career for India, I tend to become a little emotional. He is sure to bring more glory to India.
Considering we have reached the latter stages of the English summer, there should be a fair amount of wear and tear in the Oval pitch, and there could be some help for Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. The spin duo combined well in the third Test, and their confidence must be high.
England, being the home side, is under pressure. It remains to be seen how Nasser Hussain, who is among the better captains in world cricket, handles the situation, which is indeed challenging for him and England.
There are problems in batting, the bowlers were so mercilessly taken apart at Headingley, and the side has been rocked by injuries. England has to pick itself up.
The return of Marcus Trescothick, in case he passes the fitness test, should strengthen the batting. He is a positive, attacking opener, and has relished Indian bowling in the past. The good thing about Trescothick's approach is that he takes on the bowlers, making it easier for the others.
The English bowlers have to show a lot more discipline. At Headingley, they sprayed the ball around under helpful conditions, and the Indians took full toll. The fact that Andrew Caddick, the senior paceman in the side, was returning from an injury did not help matters either.
We are set for an interesting fourth Test. I would say advantage India. www.krishsrikkanth.com
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