Strauss draws in on world No1 slot


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The Independent Online

Even two draws now will be enough for England to replace India as the world's No 1 Test team after going 2-0 up in the four-match series with yesterday's thumping 319-run victory here.

Afterwards Andrew Strauss singled out his players' battling qualities – the home side recovered from a perilous 124 for 8 on the first day – for special praise. "It was a fantastic turnaround and I am proud of all we have done this week," said the captain.

"We were twice in positions where India looked favourites and we had to dig deep to turn it around. That gives me a lot of pride and fills me with confidence that we can go on and be an even better side."

So what about repeating the dose at Edgbaston next week and what about 4-0? "We don't look at it like that," he said. "We are just looking to turn up and to try to win that Test. We have had to work very hard for these two wins and we don't expect anything different next time."

Stuart Broad (right), not surprisingly named man of the match, said: "It is nice when cricket is going your way and it makes it even more special when things have been pretty tough for a couple of months."

For India, the imminent arrival of their dashing opener, Virender Sehwag, is a timely boost. Sehwag, who has been recovering from shoulder surgery, joins his team-mates later today and should play in this weekend's two-day match against Northamptonshire.

The tourists have failed to reach 300 in any of their four innings so far in this series. "It is a bit of a concern because it is a continuation of what happened in the West Indies [a few weeks ago] where we also failed to put a huge amount of runs on the board," said India's captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. "We'll see how Sehwag goes in the practice game at Northampton. We all know what he is capable of."

By far the biggest round of applause for Dhoni came when he explained why he had agreed to withdraw the run-out appeal against Ian Bell on Sunday afternoon.

"None of us were feeling very right in the heart about the incident – and that is what matters, more than the laws of the game," said Dhoni. "I am happy that the team decided Bell should be called back." Strauss personally thanked India before play yesterday.