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England lucky that top Indian batsmen out of form: Swann

Last updated on: August 22, 2011 11:25 IST

'The main thing is just form'



England have put up exceptionally consistent performances to outwit India in the ongoing Test series but spinner Graeme Swann feels the hosts have also been quite lucky to find the visiting side's top batsmen struggling for form.

Barring Rahul Dravid, who has scored three hundreds so far, no other Indian batsman has clicked in the series and Swann said England can thank their lucky stars for the scenario.

- Dravid stands tall amid the ruins

"The main thing is just form. Dravid has been in exceptional form and when you're in good nick and you might play like he has, you look so much better than everyone else," Swann said after the fourth day's play in the fourth and final Test at the Oval in London, on Monday.

"We were lucky when we played Australia in the winter, we managed to get three or four of their best players in really bad form at the same time. To a certain extent, that's happened this summer. We certainly haven't seen the best of guys like (VVS) Laxman and (Gautam) Gambhir."

Photographs: Getty Images

Image: Graeme Swann


England looking to dismiss Tendulkar early

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Swann said he is looking forward to playing a big part in his team's push for a 4-0 whitewash of India on the final day.

"I look forward to it, having to play a big part in a potential victory for England. It's going to be a hard day, make no bones about that.

"We've got seven more wickets to take and we need to get them fairly sharpish so we don't end up in a situation where we might have to bat again," Swann said.

"We need to crack on in the morning in the same vein we finished tonight, because I thought we bowled really well in that last session," he added.

Swann said it would be of no use doing so well for four days if England do not press for a win on the final day.

"After five days of cricket, if you're just going to turn up happy with the draw, then you're not going to last long in this regime.

"We'll be turning up tomorrow, 100 per cent committed to try and win the game. If anyone aired those sort of views (of a draw) in the changing room, they'd be shot down and rightly so.

"We need to try to get the wickets early. It would help if we could get three or four before lunch, especially get rid of Tendulkar. We don't want him sticking around too long," said Swann who took three wickets in India's first innings.

Image: Graeme Swann

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'Dravid has just been exceptional'

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Swann was happy for his bowling but he said on a wicket such as this, any spinner worth his salt would have done well.

"If you're on a wicket that turns and bounces and you're not causing any problems to anyone, you are probably in the wrong profession," he said.

- Dravid surpasses Gavaskar's record

In India's second innings, Swann dismissed two key opposition batsmen, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag, and he would be looking to do more of the same on the final day.

"The way Dravid has been this summer he has just been exceptional. It's very satisfying to get him out tonight. He was one wicket we were really gunning for. We're very happy to see the back of him."

Image: Rahul Dravid walks back after being dismissed by Graeme Swann in India's second innings

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'I'm a bit surprised Prior did not appeal'

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Talking about Sehwag's wicket, Swann said, "Bowling people through the gate only happens three or four times a year. It's always one to savour, especially when it's a player of his repute and standing.

"When it comes out of your hand, you know it's in the right place. But when you actually see it go through the gap, it's a wonderful feeling," he said.

Swann could have had Tendulkar out stumped as well but wicketkeeper Matt Prior did not appeal for it.

Asked about it, he said, "What can I say? I'm at the bowler's end so I can't see. I'm a bit surprised Matty Prior did not because he appeals for everything."

Image: Virender Sehwag is bowled by Graeme Swann as wicketkeeper Matt Prior (right) celebrates

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