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Green top awaits India at Edgbaston

Last updated on: August 9, 2011 09:28 IST

Good support expected from Indian diaspora

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Bikash Mohapatra reports from Edgbaston.

A huge South Asian diaspora in Birmingham would definitely ensure Team India have more support than England in the third Test but not all is hunky dory for the visitors.

Already 0-2 down in the series, following comprehensive thrashings received at Lord's and Trent Bridge, India can at best expect to draw the series by winning the remaining two Tests.

Another loss, however, would ensure two things.

For starters, it will mark a first series loss for India since August 2008, when the team was beaten 2-1 in Sri Lanka. More importantly, it would end India's 20-month reign as the world's top-ranked Test nation, with England replacing them.


Image: England coach Andy Flower talks to his squad during a training session at Edgbaston
Photographs: Reuters
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India's record at Edgbaston not very assuring

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If the visitor's record at Edgbaston is something to go by, they don't have much to be confident about.

In the five Tests they have played so far at the venue, India are yet to score a win. In fact, they have managed to draw only once -- the third Test in 1986 en route to that famous series win.

England has been comprehensive winners in the all the other four Tests played -- in 1967, 1974, 1979 and 1996 respectively.

Sachin Tendulkar will, however, have good memories of the venue even as he looks to get that elusive 100th international hundred.


Image: India's Suresh Raina goes behind the camera skills during a training session at Edgbaston

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The venue is Tendulkar's happy hunting ground

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In the last Test that he featured in, at Edgbaston, the Master Blaster scored a spectacular 122 to single-handedly shoulder the batting responsibility in the second innings.

It was because of Tendulkar's knock that India could make the hosts bat for a second time. And even though it wasn't enough to prevent a resounding England win (by eight wickets), it was nonetheless a personal high for the batsman. It was his ninth Test century, and in the 15 years since, the batsman has scored a whopping 39 more Test hundreds.


Image: India's Sachin Tendulkar shares a light moment with teammates during a training session at Edgbaston

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Tinge of grass on the wicket might not please the Indians

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As India return to Edgbaston for the first time in 15 years, there were no Tests played here in 2002 and 2007, Tendulkar would be looking for a yet another career milestone.

However, the 38-year-old and his teammates might not have been too happy after having a look at the wicket, which has a tinge of grass at present.

For that, coupled with the overcast conditions, might just be what the home team needs to score a third straight win.

Besides, the visitors have a lot of other things to worry about. With their pace spearhead Zaheer Khan ruled out, and the other bowlers grossly overworked, India's woes are far from over.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag chat during a training session

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India's famed batting has been inconsistent

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The arrival of Pragyan Ojha, as a replacement for the injured (and underperforming) Harbhajan Singh, has probably taken care of the spin department. However, the onus will still be on the pacers -- Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar and S Sreesanth -- to deliver.

The famed batting line-up, save for Rahul Dravid, has been inconsistent to say the least. Should India want to improve their chances of winning the Test, their batsmen will have to deliver.


Image: India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni at a training session at Edgbaston

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'The many injuries haven't helped the Indian cause'

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England, on the other hand, have no such worries.

Most likely to go in to the match with just one change, Ravi Bopara coming in place of an injured Jonathan Trott, the home team look favourites to wrap up a series they can no longer lose. Their impressive record over the visitors at Edgbaston further bolsters their advantage.

Bopara very aptly summed up India's woes on Monday.

"England players have made it difficult for the Indians to get going in this series," he explained.

"The many injuries haven't helped the Indian cause either," he added.

Add to it the pressure of winning two Tests in succession, to avoid a series loss, and it seems a tough ask for the visitors.


Image: England's Ravi Bopara ducks a ball during a training session at Edgbaston

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