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SPORTS
10 Aug 2011
ENGLAND EXPECT THIRD TEST TO BE PLAYED DESPITE BIRMINGHAM RIOTS

Strauss confident the third Test in the four-match series will go ahead

England are preparing for the third Test against India at Edgbaston as normal, despite concerns following riots in Birmingham.

Some shops were attacked by looters on Monday and Tuesday, but captain Andrew Strauss said the team "fully expect" the match to go ahead on Wednesday.

"It's for the authorities to decide if it's unsafe to go ahead but we have no indication that's the case," he said.

England held a full net sesssion without any problems on Tuesday.

Strauss, who with the rest of the squad stayed in the hotel on Monday night on advice from their security team, said on Tuesday: "We're very safe.

"We've got to prepare to play a game of cricket. It's for other people to deal with what's going on at the moment - and if we can take people's attention away from what's going on that's a good thing.

"Clearly, it's not our proudest moment as a country. When you watch those things on the TV it's horrific but they haven't affected our preparations for this Test."

India captain Mahendra Dhoni said he would leave it to the "concerned authorities" to decide if the Test went ahead.

"We are cricketers, not professional guys who know about security, so let's leave it to them," he said. "The best thing for us to do is prepare well for the game."

Fast bowler Chris Tremlett has been ruled out of the match with a back injury, solving England's selection dilemma as they seek to clinch the four-match series and with it replace India as the world's number one side.

Tremlett missed the emphatic second Test victory because of a related hamstring problem but was named in England's 13-man squad alongside Tim Bresnan.

Bresnan, having excelled in the 319-run win at Trent Bridge, will keep his place in the side, while Ravi Bopara will come in as a replacement for the injured Jonathan Trott and bat at number six.

Ian Bell will bat at number three for England after making a century in that position in the second Test.

For the injury-ravaged Indians, destructive batsman Virender Sehwag returns after shoulder surgery and is likely to open with Gautam Gambhir, who has recovered from a bruised arm which forced him to miss the second Test.

They are set to replace Yuvraj Singh, who broke a finger at Trent Bridge, and opener Abhinav Mukund - with Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman returning to their regular positions at number three and five respectively.

Fast bowler Zaheer Khan and spinner Harbhajan Singh are also out for the rest of the series and India must decide whether to pick a spinner to replace Harbhajan - either slow left-armer Pragyan Ojha or leg-spinner Amit Mishra - or a fourth pace bowler.

Left-arm seamer RP Singh, 25, who has been brought into the squad to replace Zaheer, played the last of 13 Tests in 2008 and has taken 40 Test wickets at an average of 39.10. He will compete with Munaf Patel for Zaheer's place.

England, who lead the series 2-0, are seeking to become the world's number one Test team for the first time since the rankings were introduced - and will reach the summit if they win either of the last two Tests.

England (from): Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Matt Prior (wk), Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn.

India (from): Mahendra Dhoni (capt, wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Sreesanth, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Munaf Patel, RP Singh.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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