England cricket teamâ€™s coach Duncan Fletcher has given a strong indication that spinner Shaun Udal will replace seamer Liam Plunkett for Saturdayâ€™s third and final Test against India.
The tourists face a must-win situation to level the series after losing the second Test at Mohali by nine wickets and the Mumbai surface is likely to be most spin-friendly of all.
Udal, who will be 37 on day one of the Test, took only three wickets in his first three Tests in Pakistan. “We think it is a two-spinner pitch but weâ€™ll look at it, then look at number eight position,” Fletcher said.
The prospect of Udal batting as high as eight is a concern for Fletcher, who said. “We have always maintained we need a balanced side. Plunkett has come in to do a job, he is a very inexperienced player and we are asking a lot of him at the moment, especially as he is playing in conditions he is not used to.”
Fletcher is still lamenting loss of Ashley Giles, who contributed four fifties at an average of 20.72 in addition to his 140 wickets from 52 Tests. “Ashley has always offered us balance which is required of a Test side.”
There was praise for Monty Panesar, who impressed with some sharply turning deliveries, but confirmed himself to be a number 11 batsman.
“Monty has shown us he has a good action and hopefully he will get a better chance in Mumbai,” said Fletcher, who played down the reports Steve Harmison had picked up an injury during the second Test.
An extra batsman was ruled out because of workload it would place on three seamers. Slow bowler Ian Blackwell appeared out of his depth in the first Test.
Meanwhile, batsman Kevin Pietersen insisted inexperienced tourists could recover from defeat in Mohali. “Itâ€™s been difficult but I think boys have done a good job. The fourth afternoon in last Test didnâ€™t go according to plan but weâ€™re up for the challenge. Itâ€™s an opportunity for everybody involved. We need to score over 400 runs in first innings but itâ€™s just a case of doing right things to get them,” he said.More on:England in India 2006, India, monty panesar, Mumbai, Shaun Udal
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Friday, March 17th, 2006 and is filed under General.
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