India regroup, England rejoice

India await the arrival of familiar face while England enjoy success that puts them on the brink of something special.

    Opener Sehwag will fly to England to reinforce the embattled Indian team for the last two Tests [GALLO/GETTY]

    Already 2-0 down in their four match series with England, India will hope that experience can guide them back to winning ways.   

    The visitors are expecting the return of a familiar face for the next Test on August 10 in Birmingham.

    Batsman Virender Sehwag will join his Indian team mates on Wednesday, boosting their hopes of taking revenge on an England team who have made the world number ones look distinctly average. 

    Sehwag has been out of action since undergoing shoulder surgery in May and missed the tour of West Indies and India's comprehensive defeats in the first two Tests against England.

    His Delhi team mate Gautam Gambhir, who injured his elbow while fielding in the Lord's opening Test and missed the match in Trent Bridge, is also likely to return to the starting lineup for the third Test.

    While India regroup, England reflect on another great all-round performance. 

    "Predictable" was often a word used to deride England's cricketers but it is fast becoming a badge of honour that captain Andrew Strauss and his squad can wear with pride. 

    Two crushing Test victories over India, the second coming in a rush of wickets at Trent Bridge on Monday, have put England on the brink of the top ranking in the five-day format of the game and talk of "domination" is in the air.

    Shane Warne has likened England to the successful Australia side of which he was a key member after seeing Strauss's men thrash India in the second Test.

    Warne sees similarities between England and the dominant Australian team of 2000-2008 [GETTY]

    "England are improving and have a hunger for victory," Warne, 41, wrote in Tuesday's edition of The Daily Telegraph.

    "But most impressive about England was how aggressively they approached the situation," he said.

    "When Australia were on top and dominating world cricket, the things we wanted to do were score fast, take the game away from the opposition and intimidate the tail.

    "England are doing all those and showing qualities that will make them number one if they continue to play like this."

    In fast bowlers James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Tremlett and off-spinner Graeme Swann, England have an attack full of potency while Tim Bresnan showed in taking five wickets to skittle India for 158 that Strauss has the kind of back-up options that are the envy of the world.

    Wicketkeeper Matt Prior has improved beyond measure with the gloves and his batting is now approaching the heights reached by great Australian Adam Gilchrist in the all-conquering sides captained by Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting.

    Kevin Pietersen has even managed to put his ego to one side and emerge as a batsman who can dig in for the common cause while Ian Bell, with a Test average of 47, is world class.

    Former England captain Nasser Hussain has also heaped praise on Strauss's team.

    "There is just no weak link," he said.

    "They are an amazing set of players....I think England are now realising that they are embarking on what might become a very special journey"

    Nasser Hussain

    "They are the best England team I have ever seen.

    "They are an amazing set of players....I think England are now realising that they are embarking on what might become a very special journey."

    England have won seven of their last eight Test series. That may soon become eight from nine and although matching the domination of Australia, who between 2000 and 2008 lost just two series, is unlikely, they certainly look like the team to be measured against for the foreseeable future.

    After spending decades in the shadow of the West Indies and Australia, England have every right to enjoy their recent success.

    On the brink of becoming the world's greatest team, it will take a while for the players and fans to comprehend just how far they have come.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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