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Opportunity for buoyant England to grab top ranking

Last updated on: August 10, 2011 16:49 IST

Opportunity for buoyant England to grab top ranking

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A rampant England team brimming with confidence go into the third Test against India on Wednesday primed to claim the victory that would secure the world number one ranking from their opponents.

England, 2-0 up in the four-match series, will be without prolific batsman Jonathan Trott because of a shoulder injury, while India will miss their two most experienced bowlers, seamer Zaheer Khan and spinner Harbhajan Singh.

India, top of the rankings for almost two years, have never won at Edgbaston in five Tests at the venue, losing four and drawing once.


Image: Andrew Strauss bats in the nets during a training session at Edgbaston
Photographs: Reuters
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'Zaheer's absence a big loss for India'

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men will have to raise their game with a revamped bowling attack, though batsman Virender Sehwag may return after shoulder surgery.

"(Zaheer) will be a big loss as he's the leader of their attack, he's such a skillful bowler, especially in English conditions, he always bowls well here," England fast bowler James Anderson told Sky Sports.

"It is a big loss for them but we can't get carried away with one individual going home because they've got strength in depth and we know that whoever replaces him will have quality and we've got to look to get the better of him."


Image: James Anderson, Eoin Morgan and Matt Prior take a break during a nets session
Photographs: Getty Images
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'We know they are going to come hard at us'

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"They won't want to lose the series and if they've got any chance of staying in the series they know they have got to win this week. We know they are going to come hard at us and we've got to try and match that. It's their number one spot that they are defending so they have got a lot to play for."

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra and Zaheer's fellow left-arm paceman Rudra Pratap Singh are expected to come into the team, while a batsman will also be omitted if Sehwag is deemed fit enough to make his return to Test action.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid during a nets session
Photographs: Getty Images
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Bresnan likely to retain his place

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England will have to change their team as Essex batsman Ravi Bopara has come into a 12-man squad for Trott.

Bopara seems likely to play as England are not expected to revert to a five-man bowling attack including both Tim Bresnan and Chris Tremlett who missed the last match with a hamstring injury.

Bresnan did his chances of retaining his place no harm in Nottingham by scoring 90 in the second innings and taking a Test-best five for 48 to help seal the win.


Image: Tim Bresnan goes through the grind as Ravi Bopara and Alastair Cook watch during a nets session
Photographs: Getty Images
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'I'm chuffed to bits that I've been given the opportunity'

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"It's an ideal opportunity for me," Bopara said. "I know it's come off the back of an injury to one of our main players but nevertheless it's an opportunity for me.

"I'm chuffed to bits that I've been given the opportunity and I can't wait to start on Wednesday. I'm coming into a great side.

"We're not No. 1 yet, that's obviously the aim. It's a great team to play for, there's some great players and they've done a fantastic job."


Image: Ravi Bopara during a nets session
Photographs: Getty Images
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