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Buoyant England eye top ranking


BIRMINGHAM, England — A rampant England team brimming with confidence go into the third cricket Test against India today primed to claim the victory that would secure the world number one ranking from their opponents.

England, 2-0 up in the four-match series, will be without prolific batsman Jonathan Trott because of a shoulder injury, while India will miss their two most experienced bowlers, seamer Zaheer Khan and spinner Harbhajan Singh.

India, top of the rankings for almost two years, have never won at Edgbaston in five Tests at the venue, losing four and drawing once.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men will have to raise their game with a revamped bowling attack, though batsman Virender Sehwag may return after shoulder surgery.

“(Zaheer) will be a big loss as he’s the leader of their attack, he’s such a skilful bowler, especially in English conditions, he always bowls well here,” England fast bowler James Anderson told Sky Sports.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra and Zaheer’s fellow left-arm paceman Rudra Pratap Singh are expected to come into the team, while a batsman will also be omitted if Sehwag is deemed fit enough to make his return to test action.

England will have to change their team as Essex batsman Ravi Bopara has come into a 12-man squad for Trott.

Bopara seems likely to play as England are not expected to revert to a five-man bowling attack including both Tim Bresnan and Chris Tremlett who missed the last match with a hamstring injury.

Bresnan did his chances of retaining his place no harm in Nottingham by scoring 90 in the second innings and taking a Test-best five for 48 to help seal the win.

“It’s an ideal opportunity for me,” Bopara said. “I know it’s come off the back of an injury to one of our main players, but nevertheless it’s an opportunity for me.

“I’m chuffed to bits that I’ve been given the opportunity and I can’t wait to start on Wednesday (today) . I’m coming into a great side.

“We’re not No 1 yet, that’s obviously the aim. It’s a great team to play for, there’s some great players and they’ve done a fantastic job.”
— Reuters

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