England captain Andrew Strauss (C) speaks during a press conference after a practice session at Trent Bridge in Nottingham. Strauss has insisted his side are a more "mature" team than the one caught up in a backfiring jellybean stunt when they last played India at Trent Bridge four years ago.
AFP - Paul Ellis


NOTTINGHAM (AFP) - England captain Andrew Strauss has insisted his side are a more "mature" team than the one caught up in a backfiring jellybean stunt when they last played India at Trent Bridge four years ago.

The teams have arrived at the Nottingham venue, where the second Test starts on Friday, with England 1-0 up in the current four-match series following their 196-run victory at Lord's on Monday.

Back in 2007, India had clung on for a draw at Lord's with one wicket standing before the teams, featuring many of the current players on both sides, came to Trent Bridge for the second Test.

England, then captained by Michael Vaughan, enraged Zaheer Khan by leaving jellybeans strewn across the pitch when the tailender came out to bat.

The angry left-arm fast bowler, set to miss this year's corresponding clash because of a hamstring injury, then took five for 75 in England's second innings to give him a match return of nine for 34 as he bowled India to a seven-wicket victory that turned out to be a series-clincher.

But India's behaviour was not beyond reproach either.

Fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, who could replace Zaheer when the second Test of this latest series starts Friday, bowled a beamer straight at Kevin Pietersen's head and then ran through the crease by a couple of feet before sending down a bouncer from around the wicket at Paul Collingwood.

But Sreesanth was fined 50 percent of his match fee by ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle -- in charge again this year -- for shoulder-barging Vaughan.

Strauss, asked about the jellybean incident, was confident there would be no similar stunts this year.

"I think the guys are more mature now -- they understand their responsibility to the team and (they know) that silly little things aren't helping the team win," he told reporters at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

"The way we look at any Test match, everything we do has to be to help the team win. I think we have learned lessons from that," explained Strauss, whose team will replace India at the top of the ICC's Test Championship table if they win this four-match series 2-0 or better.

"You don't think about it -- they (the jellybeans) were there, the batsman brushed them away and on you went.

"It was a silly little thing and it won't be repeated."

Strauss, reflecting on that 2007 Test as a whole, said: "My recollections are that we came into the game pretty confident having just missed out on winning at Lord's.

"But we got a surprise early on that day when we lost the toss and we were in trouble from ball one.

"And to be fair to India they never let us back in the game.

"They showed their competitive spirit, definitely and showed they weren't in England to make up the numbers.

"And I'm sure this side is very similar. I think we're better prepared to put in another good performance, having won before because we did it quite consistently in Australia and quite a lot over the last 18 months.

"But we're not taking anything for granted. They'll come back strong."

Meanwhile India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who like Strauss played at Trent Bridge four years ago, said Sreesanth was a less volatile character than in 2007.

"I think he has changed over a period of time. The more he has played the better he has got," Dhoni said. "That was four years ago, and I hope we can keep the controversies away.

"I hope it will be a much calmer Test match, for the players and the match referee," he added.



Source: dreamcricket.com

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