As if Sri Lanka were not handful enough, India arrive on Wednesday. One-day world champions, No 1 in the ICC Test rankings – they are the team of the moment. It is England's declared mission to depose them from top spot in the longer game and for the first time themselves become cocks of the Test walk. The one-dayers in September may provide a still sterner examination, but England have lots going for them.
Cook finds winning recipe
Alastair Cook is the form man of the moment, of any moment. From the day last August that he scored a hundred at The Oval, eking out each run as though he was prising it from rock, he has been sublime. Hero of the Ashes, he has been been oustanding again this summer. After two hundreds (and a 90) in the Test series against Sri Lanka he has defied his critics with some dazzling form in the one-dayers. A player transformed.
Anderson back in swing
By the end of the World Cup, Jimmy Anderson looked as though he had aged 1,000 years. He might have been picked out in an identity parade in which they were trying to nail Methuselah. The Ashes in which he starred had taken their toll. But the Burnley Express has come out swinging away again, the ball once more at his beck and call. His mastery of small grades of movement both ways may becrucial against India's batsmen.
Pietersen close to edge
Around Kevin Pietersen there remains serious doubt. He is training so hard and cricket means so much to him – he is not kidding when he says this – but it is not quite working as it once did. The shot yesterday when he knew he had to get on with it but forced the pace just too much, edging behind, was the KP of 2011, not 2007. India in the late summer may tell us how long he has left.
Bresnan's slim Test chance
Tim Bresnan, once the chubby kid from Pontefract, has metamorphosed into a sleek bowling machine and his pragmatic method, exhibited again yesterday as he took three early Sri Lankan wickets, plus Stuart Broad's poor form, gives him a chance of a spot in the Test team.Reuse content