The Indian team faces its sternest examination as they try and get up from the body blows they have received in the first two Tests. They are down
alright, but are they out? Most Indian supporters would like to believe that this team has the bottle to lift themselves up and win the next two Tests
and retain their number one ranking.
For that to be achieved, it is the youngster's in the team who have to give it the energy and enthusiasm and the seniors will provide the experience. There's been talk about how the team has played too much cricket while there are some who feel that there's not been much cricket before they played the first Test at Lords.
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To those who say that there's been too much cricket it would be of interest to know that the oldest cricketer in the team is the one who has scored three
centuries in five Test matches and the next best scorer is also one who has been playing from the West Indies. So obviously too much cricket has not affected them. The fact is that at the International level it is never easy to get back to top performance after missing out on International competition for a few months.
It's constant competition that keeps a player on his toes and in peak condition. Of course when a player is in his twenties it is a lot easier to come back than it is when a player is in his thirties.
Stuart Broad missed out on the Ashes series last year when he had an injury and he also missed out on the World Cup. In the series against Sri Lanka he
got a bit carried away with the short ball and so was not able to get wickets, nor did he stick around and score any runs. His place in the team was being questioned and when he got out first ball for a duck in the first Test the knives were being sharpened, but he showed terrific temperament by bowling brilliantly to get wickets at crucial times.
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He had quite clearly learnt from the series against the Lankans and by pitching the ball up he got it to move in the air and off the pitch at a good pace he made life difficult for the Indians. Then in the second innings when India's seamer's had struck back he came in got off the dreaded pair and then struck the ball cleanly. His partnership with Matt Prior, who got a century took the game away from the Indians and set them a target which was beyond them.
Prior's robust batting also was instrumental in swinging the game and it is in the batting of their bowlers that England are able to resist and regain the initiative. The bowlers just don't give their wickets away and if only India's bowlers also showed the same attitude it could be a different story.
Stuart broad for his all round performances is the CEAT International cricketer of the week.Professional Management Group