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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

England take aim at Sachin-led India

N Ananthanarayanan in Durban | February 25, 2003 09:04 IST

England's make-or-break World Cup clash with India on Wednesday will offer an intriguing head-to-head confrontation between the best batsman in the world and the find of the tournament.

James Anderson, 20, who was playing club cricket a year ago, will be tested as never before by Sachin Tendulkar.

Anderson produced a near-perfect swing-bowling display to take four for 29 in England's 112-run victory over Pakistan in Cape Town on Saturday.

That victory has galvanised a team, which many commentators had all but written off after their wretched start to the tournament, dominated by their refusal to play in Zimbabwe because of security concerns.

Anderson, in only his 12th one-day international, removed Inzamam-ul-Haq for a duck before bowling arguably the best delivery of the tournament, a swinging yorker, to remove Yousuf Youhana next ball.

Tendulkar, who will open for India, warmed up with 152 and his 34th one-day international hundred against Namibia.

England, with three victories in the three games they have played, will feel they must win to reach the Super Six stage. They face Australia in their final group match but have not beaten the world champions in their last 13 encounters.

England Advantage

Nasser Hussain's side will have the advantage of playing their second consecutive game under floodlights, where seaming conditions can make life difficult for sides chasing targets.

England, though, have one big worry. Michael Vaughan, the team's top batsman who made a fluent half-century against Pakistan, is struggling with a calf strain.

India, meanwhile, still have lingering batting concerns.

They struggled in the tournament build-up and were shot out for 125, their lowest World Cup total, during a nine-wicket humiliation by Australia.

Tendulkar, however, is looking increasingly ominous, having top-scored for India in each of his last four innings. He has rattled up 321 runs at the World Cup, more than any other player.

Like so many other batsmen, he has struggled to look his best against the minnow sides' medium-pacers on slow pitches, but his 151-ball innings on Sunday, setting up India's 181-run victory over Namibia, showed his class.

Perhaps more importantly, captain Saurav Ganguly hit 112 not out in that victory to regain some confidence following a recent poor run. Before the game, Ganguly had been reduced to batting in a car park against wet tennis balls in an attempt to get used to high-bouncing deliveries.

Indian Confidence

India can also draw confidence from their recent record against England.

Last summer at Lord's, they chased down 326 to score a thrilling two-wicket victory in the tri-series final and then crushed them by eight wickets in a Champions Trophy league game in Colombo in September.

Paul Collingwood, another emerging England player who top-scored against Pakistan, knows the significance of the match in Durban, which has a huge population of ethnic Indians.

"It is a game of massive importance," Collingwood said. "We have to put in another performance like the one we did against Pakistan."

In the Lord's game, England reduced India to 146 for five before Mohammad Kaif, like Collingwood an innings 'finisher', won the game with an unbeaten 87.

"We were unable to kill them off," Collingwood said. "It is important that in situations like that we knock them over."

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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Sub: India-England

I think India should fight like they did at Natwest series.They should not worry about toss and will have to play their natural game.Also I ...

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i think we can't sit down relaxed thinking of past achievements its better to take every new game a challenge and fight hard this will ...

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