England seek victory

London, August 8:

England start the third Test against India on Thursday needing win to keep alive its six-year unbeaten streak in home series.

England lost the second Test by seven wickets. Kevin Pietersen missed training on Tuesday with a high temperature, but improved sufficiently to take part in a net session today. The team need Pietersen at his best if it is to recover from 1-0 down in the three-Test series.

“It’s a big relief for the team because he’s such an important player,” said Michael Vaughan. England also need openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook to build a platform for their team, as Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik did for India in the last Test when they saw off the new ball in the first innings.

Getting runs was not a problem in the second Test for India, which is seeking its first series win in England since 1986. After a poor performance in the drawn first Test at Lord’s, five of India’s top six batsmen hit half centuries to set up the convincing win.

“Winning a series against a good side at their place is really tough,” Dhoni said. “We are thinking about the coming match as a one-Test series: the first and last of a series.”

Both teams were warned about their conduct after the bad-tempered second Test, when England players dropped jelly beans on the pitch to distract their opponents and India’s S Sreesanth was fined half his match fee for barging into Vaughan.

India wicketkeeper Dhoni said the players will be better behaved at The Oval. “You will still get to see good aggressive cricket, but I don’t think things like that will be repeated,” Dhoni said. “It is about the individual drawing the line. The captain can only say so much, but the guy who implements it is the individual.”