9th August 2011, 05:10 PM
England players focused on Test, not top ranking
England's James Anderson takes a catch during a practice session at the Edgbaston cricket ground in Birmingham. England are determined the prospect of becoming the world's number-one ranked Test side will prove no distraction when they face India in the third Test.
©AFP - Andrew Yates
BIRMINGHAM, England (AFP) - England are determined the prospect of becoming the world's number-one ranked Test side will prove no distraction when they face India at Edgbaston.
England go into the game, due to start here on Wednesday, 2-0 up in a four-match series.
They know another victory would not only give them an unbeatable lead but also see them replace India at the top of the ICC's Test Championship table.
England have enjoyed plenty of success in recent years, winning Ashes series at home and abroad.
But there have been times when they've allowed their opponents to come back.
For example, they were 1-0 up with two to play when Australia won the fourth Test at Headingley in 2009 to level an Ashes series Strauss's men wrapped up in the finale at The Oval.
And they were subsequently 1-0 up in South Africa before the Proteas won the fourth and final Test by an innings to share the spoils in a series also featuring two draws.
Back home, England were 2-0 in front against Pakistan last year before losing at The Oval although they did complete a 3-1 series win at Lord's.
Then their otherwise triumphant Ashes campaign in Australia was briefly halted when, 1-0 up after a draw at Brisbane and victory in Adelaide, England were well beaten in Perth.
But that didn't stop them recording innings wins in Melbourne and Sydney.
"We're not approaching this Test match any differently," England captain Andrew Strauss told reporters at Edgbaston here on Tuesday.
"That number one ranking comes as a consequence of playing good cricket, so all we've got to concentrate on is playing good cricket."
The opening batsman added what happened at Headingley two years ago, where Australia won by an innings and 80 runs, had left its mark on England.
"I certainly thought we learned lessons from Headingley in 09. We started looking too far ahead and looking nat the outcome of the game rather than at starting the game well.
"Since then, we have been keen to keep everyone's feet on the ground whether we are winning or losing. This is one of those circumstances. There is no point in looking too far ahead."
If Strauss was not too concerned about England becoming number one, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was relaxed when confronted with the possibility of his team being knocked off their perch.
"We don't talk much about ratings," Dhoni said. "They are not what's important for us.
"What we concentrate on is the kind of cricket we are playing so we try to break the sessions into smaller sessions and not look five days ahead as to what may be the result.
"The number one slot is not something that belongs to someone, you come to that position because of the consistent cricket you have played over a period of time, maybe one-and-a-half, two years."
India's tour has been blighted by injuries, with the likes of senior bowlers Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh now ruled out of a series in which dynamic opening batsman Virender Sehwag has yet to play following shoulder surgery.
"With the injuries, the fitness and the form, we've had quite a few things to worry about, so we can say it's among the most difficult tours," Dhoni said.
However, he added: "Each and every game the Indian team plays is very important because the expectation level is very high. I've never played any Test match that has been easy on us."
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