Expect no complacency from England

Despite becoming number one team in the world, Andrew Strauss says England will fight to the bitter end of Test series.

    Fast bowler Jimmy Anderson looks set to start the final Test despite suffering a thigh injury [GALLO/GETTY] 

    England will go into their fourth and final Test against India on Thursday with all guns blazing despite just usurping their rivals in the Test rankings.

    Andrew Strauss' team will be confident about achieving a white-wash over India after spearhead fast bowler James Anderson looks to have recovered from a "minor" thigh injury in time for the Test at The Oval. 

    The Lancashire swing specialist bowled for some 30 minutes in the nets at the south London ground on Wednesday, having sat out training on Tuesday with a thigh strain.

    England took the precaution of calling-up Durham seamer Graham Onions, who hasn't played international cricket for over a year, as cover.

    But Wednesday saw Anderson bowling at close to full pace and he also took part in a brief stint of sprint training.

    England captain Andrew Strauss, aiming to lead his side to a 4-0 series clean sweep, was buoyed by Anderson's progress, saying: "Like all these things it was a niggle and we'll have to wait and see how he is, but we're very comforted by how he came through today (Wednesday)."

    "Now is not a time to be satisfied with ourselves"

    Captain Andrew Strauss

    Onions has not played for England since January 2010 because of a career-threatening back injury and Strauss said: "It's great to see Onions back in the squad.

    "He played a very significant part in the 2009 Ashes win and we all have high regard for him as a bowler.

    "With him and Steven Finn, there is definitely strength in depth."

    England's crushing innings and 242-run victory last time out at Edgbaston left them an unbeatable 3-0 up in this four-match series and took them to the top of the International Cricket Council Test rankings.

    But Strauss insisted there would be no complacency from England at The Oval.

    "We will approach it in the same way as we would any other Test," he said.

    "There's always that danger of taking our foot off the gas, but I hope and expect that we won't fall into that trap," he told reporters.

    Strauss cited the way England had won the fifth and final Test against Australia in Sydney by an innings in January, a victory achieved with the Ashes already retained after the tourists had gone 2-1 up in Melbourne, as an example of England's ruthlessness.

    "I think we had a similar situation in Australia and reacted really well in Sydney," opening batsman Strauss explained.

    "That's certainly what we're trying to do this week. I'm absolutely certain that India will want to finish the tour on a high note and we have to stop them doing that," Strauss said.

            England celebrate becoming the world's best team with victory at Edgbaston [GALLO/GETTY] 

    If England beat India at The Oval they will have won as many Test matches - 20 - in the past two years as they did during the whole of the 1980s.

    Once a "laughing stock", England have managed in just a couple of years to build a top ranking side. 

    "It's always been a long-term goal to get number one so it was a special moment to achieve it" said Strauss.

    "We celebrated that we'd achieved one of our goals, but now we're back training again rankings become secondary to what you do on a day-to-day basis.

    "Now is not a time to be satisfied with ourselves."

    But now is the time that England fans will wonder if their team will stand comparison with the great West Indies sides of the 1970s and 1980s, and the Australia outfit of the last decade, that dominated Test cricket in their respective eras.

    "Those teams created a great legacy by playing that well for a decade," said Strauss.

    "We've done it for the last couple of years. We're not trying to be seen as anything, just trying to play as well as we can.

    "What happens as a result of that, we will be able to look back on in years to come."

    Once this series is over England, unusually, won't have another Test before Christmas, with the first of a winter programme where they face Pakistan and Sri Lanka, not until the new year.

    That means Strauss, who no longer plays limited overs internationals, is set for a well-deserved five-month break, during which he will have plenty of time to reflect on all his team has achieved.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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