| Sourav Ganguly at practice on Thursday
Nottingham: An unusual record is going to be scripted on Friday: Rahul Dravid and Michael Vaughan will toss without having had a look at the Trent Bridge wicket in the lead-up to the second Test!
Thanks to unrelenting rain, the wicket remained covered on Wednesday and Thursday and the captains are going to pray it has no demons.
The other batters too.
Moreover, neither India nor England have been able to train outdoors. No matter how good the facilities at the England & Wales Cricket Board’s National Academy in Loughborough, indoor nets are never a substitute for what’s out in the open.
That, then, is the bizarre build-up to what could be the defining Test of the three-match npower series. The first, at Lord’s, ended in a dramatic draw.
According to the forecast, the weather will be “fine” on Day I, but the ground has taken so much water that there are doubts over a timely start — even if there’s no rain from early on Friday.
Two factors need to be noted. That Trent Bridge doesn’t have the drainage facilities which exist at Lord’s and, secondly, the “water table” is always high because of its proximity to the river Trent.
“Our preparation hasn’t been ideal, but it’s the same for both teams...” Vaughan, who was brilliant (197 as an opener in the only innings) in the last India versus England face-off here, remarked.
[That drawn Test, five summers ago, had seen kid debutant Parthiv Patel quickly grow up into a man. In fact, he played a crucial innings of an un- beaten 19 (84 minutes) on the last afternoon. Today, he’s wearing the India A colours.]
“One expects interruptions in England... It gets more difficult for the batsmen... But one has to be prepared and also learn to embrace and enjoy it,” Dravid said when his views were sought on the possibility of yet another stop-start Test.
Vaughan, for his part, disagreed with a suggestion that the Lord’s draw was actually a defeat for England. “We played great cricket and, on the final day, averaged just under 16 overs an hour... We came away with a lot of positives... The Test was a great confidence-builder.”
He added: “We had a young team with inexperienced bowlers, but still managed to put the experienced Indian batsmen under pressure... (Sachin) Tendulkar and Dravid didn’t get many runs, but they’re capable of bouncing back...”
Dravid accepted that a draw is “never really” a good result, but did count for much given the circumstances (behind by 97 on the first innings). “We’re not behind in the series, unlike the last time we came to Nottingham... We would’ve liked more runs at Lord’s, but took positives in the bowling department...”
Talking about pressure, Dravid commented: “One is being judged all the time... There’s responsibility and there’s pressure... I’ve always felt the same pressure to perform... If one doesn’t, there’s going to be criticism.”
As with any other form of cricket, a handsome start makes the job so much easier. If Rudra Pratap Singh surprised England at Lord’s, then the accuracy and consistency of James Anderson plus Ryan Sidebottom’s aggression caused disarray in the Indian camp.
Trent Bridge is Sidebottom’s home ground. His County debut had been for Yorkshire, though.
Yuvraj Singh, meanwhile, has been named in the Team India XII, but The Telegraph learns there won’t be any change. Sourav Ganguly is fit — he batted (indoors) on Thursday afternoon, against the bowlers and, then, the bowling machine.
“I’m not in discomfort... I’m available for the Test,” Sourav maintained. He’d skipped Wednesday’s nets owing to stiffness in the back. In the last Test here, Sourav had fallen for 99 in the second innings. He’d been the captain then.
England are set to retain their XI as well.
India: Dinesh Karthik, Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, V.V.S. Laxman, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, Rudra Pratap Singh, Sreesanth.
England: Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Michael Vaughan, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell, Matt Prior, Chris Tremlett, Ryan Sidebottom, Monty Panesar, James Anderson.
Umpires: Simon Taufel, Ian Howell. TV: Nigel Long.
Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle.
Match starts (scheduled): 3.30 pm IST.
TRENT BRIDGE TITBITS
India will take on England in the second Test of the three-match series at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, on Friday. The ground has so far hosted 53 Tests, including one between Australia and South Africa in 1912. Of the three Tests, India have lost one and drawn twice. The following is a quick glance at the highs and lows:
Overall — 658/8 decl. by Eng vs Aus, 1938
For Eng (vs India) — 617, 2002
For Ind — 521, 1996
Overall — 88 by SA, 1960
For Eng — 112 vs Aus, 1921; 422 vs India, 1959
For Ind — 157/9*, 1959
* One batsman (injured) did not bat
Overall — 89
For Eng — 50; Vs India — 4
For Ind — 4
HIGHEST INDIVIDUAL SCORES
Overall — 278 by D. Compton (Eng vs Pak, 1954)
Vs Ind — 197 by M. Vaughan, 2002)
For Ind — 177 by S. Tendulkar, 1996
Overall — 1083 in 11 matches by M. Atherton (Eng)
Vs Ind — 197 1 match by M. Vaughan
For Ind — 377 in 2 matches by S. Tendulkar
BEST BOWLING IN AN INNINGS
Overall — 8/70 by M. Muralidharan (SL vs Eng, 2006)
For Eng — 8/107 by B. Bosenquet vs Aus, 1905
Vs Ind — 5/31 by J. Statham, 1959
For Ind — 4/102 by S. Gupte, 1959
BEST BOWLING IN A MATCH
Overall — 14/99 by A. Bedser (Eng vs Aus, 1953)
Vs Ind — 7/77 by J. Statham, 1959
For Ind — 4/102 by S. Gupte, 1959
Overall — 41 wkts in 6 matches by A. Bedser
Vs Ind — 7 wkts in 1 match by J. Statham
For Ind — 4 wkts 1 match by S. Gupte
Overall — 11 matches by M. Atherton (Eng)
Vs Ind — 2 matches each by A. Stewart, N. Hussain & D. Cork
For Ind — 2 matches each by S. Tendulkar, S. Ganguly & R. Dravid
COMPILED BY MOHANDAS MENON