India will be England’s acid test in 2011 WC
Bangalore: Hosts India will aim to bring the spotlight back on to the field as they look to extend their winning start to the World Cup by beating England Sunday.
The build-up to the Group B match has garnered worldwide media attention not only for cricketing reasons but also for the violent clashes between Indian fans and police over the shortage of public tickets available for the hotly-anticipated showdown at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
England, however, are not allowing the off-field actions sway their focus and have set their sights firmly on beating India as the co-hosts play their first match in front of their home crowd.
"I have not seen too much of (the violence) or read about it to be honest. I am looking forward to play at Bangalore where the atmosphere is almost electric," pace bowler Stuart Broad said.
The teams` start to the tournament has been in stark contrast. While England laboured to beat the Netherlands, India`s batsmen hammered the Bangladesh bowling into submission in their comfortable 87-run victory.
England`s biggest worry will be to curb India`s explosive batting line-up led by Virender Sehwag, who blasted 175 in the opening match.
Sehwag has suffered knee and then, Friday, a rib injury but should be fit according to team staff.
England`s bowling was taken apart in their opening match as the Dutch almost amassed 300 runs aided in part by some sloppy fielding.
Unless England raise their game, India could power to another score in excess of 350 runs.
The visitors will be hoping their opening bowler James Anderson hits top gear soon as he and the in-form Broad have the unenviable task of curbing the prolific Indian openers.
Broad said it was unlikely that England would open the bowling with a spinner, as South Africa and West Indies have done during the tournament, although Graeme Swann was their most impressive player against the Netherlands.
For the moment, the only change in England`s opening combination is the batting, with Kevin Pietersen partnering skipper Andrew Strauss at the top.
They, along with the others, would take heart from the fact that Bangladesh scored a very respectable 283 against the Indian bowling line-up and lasted the entire 50 overs.
If England can do that Sunday, the packed M Chinnaswamy Stadium could yet witness an upset.