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Secret to success: Skill and discipline

They've won the first two Tests with handsome margins but there is no let up in the intensity. The transformation has been dramatic from the England side India played in 2007. Sanjjeev K Samyal reports. Can India bounce back

cricket Updated: Aug 09, 2011 01:57 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Edgbaston
England-s-Tim-Bresnan-celebrates-taking-the-wicket-of-Suresh-Raina-with-Andrew-Strauss-and-Graeme-Swann-during-the-fourth-day-of-the-second-cricket-Test-match-at-Trent-Bridge-in-Nottingham

They've won the first two Tests with handsome margins but there is no let up in the intensity. The transformation has been dramatic from the England side India played in 2007.

From a happy-go-lucky bunch, coach, Andy Flower, has transformed them into a hard-nosed professional outfit.

Proof lay in the slip-catching practice on Monday. Batting coach, Graham Gooch, conducted the session where the players took catches in batches of three. It involved taking an alternate high and slip catch, shot from the bowling machine. The players were coming back from a holiday, but they had no choice but stay alert. For every drop, all three had to stand with their back in front of the bowling machine for a painful blow.

The drill indicated the accountability and discipline that the current regime has drilled into the squad.

In terms of talent, Michael Vaughan's team of 2005 had few parallels, but in terms of steel, Andrew Strauss's men are miles ahead.

Turning the tide
India's success is based on their batting might, but it's the lower order which gives England the edge over the other teams. The architects of their success have been Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and James Anderson.

Most impressive has been the resilience in fighting back from difficult situations. India had the hosts in trouble in the second innings at Lord's when England were reduced to 62 for five. Prior came in and played a three-digit knock, sharing a 162-run stand with Broad, to take the side to 269 for 6 declared, as England won the Test by 196 runs.

At Trent Bridge, the home team made a dream comeback after reeling at 124 for eight in the first innings to win the game by a mammoth 319 runs. "The precision that goes into our training for every Test leaves the guys feeling confident before the match," said Prior.

With a tally of 247 runs from four innings, Prior averages 82.33 in the series. In the opener, Anderson led the way with 5-65, as India, set an unlikely 458 for victory, were bowled out for 261. It was far from a one-man show — Broad claimed three wickets to finish with match figures of 7-94, and hit an unbeaten 74 in England's second innings.

It's the depth of the lower order that is the envy of the opposition. Bresnan walked into the side at Trent Bridge and played a stirring role, hitting 90 and taking a five-wicket haul. India haven't had a genuine all-rounder since Kapil Dev, England are playing with two — Broad and Bresnan.

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