Andrew Strauss set for India warm-up ahead of Test series

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England will need to improve - Strauss

Captain Andrew Strauss insists England must hit peak form in the upcoming Test series against India ahead of his guest appearance for Somerset against the tourists this weekend.

The unusual opportunity for Strauss only came about because his own county Middlesex were without a fixture.

India's only warm-up game - which starts on Friday - gives him the chance to rediscover his form with the bat.

Team-mate Jonathan Trott has backed Strauss to have a strong series.

He has looked uncomfortable against left-arm seamers of late, and will face one of the best in the world in India's Zaheer Khan.

But Trott points to how fellow batsman Alastair Cook has revived his fortunes in spectacular fashion during the past 12 months as an example of how quickly a player can regain his form.

"I thought people would have learnt from the end of last summer with what everyone was saying about Alastair Cook - and then look at the winter he had," he said.

"As a team, we respect Andrew so much and what he has done for the team and with the bat. The bloke knows his job as captain and opening bat is to score heaps of runs like everyone else selected in the position he bats. Andrew has been really working really hard with [England batting coach] Graham Gooch.

"He's been coming to nets during the one-dayers.

"If Andrew goes on and scores hundreds this series, everyone will be really happy, and he is capable of that."

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No pressure to score runs - Trott

England go into the contest in an optimistic frame of mind after a 1-0 Test series win over Sri Lanka and a 3-2 victory in the one-day international series.

But India are the top-ranked side in Test cricket - and Strauss admits that they are likely to pose a tougher challenge.

"We definitely have the capability to beat them, but we are not going to win this series without playing at our very best," he said.

"It's a huge challenge - the number one Test side coming over here, it's a really strong test to see how far we have come as a team. From a pure cricketing side, there's no bigger challenge than that."

The four-match series begins at Lord's on 21 July.

Somerset are resting skipper Marcus Trescothick for the three-day match against India at Taunton.

The ex-England opener had been expected to play alongside Strauss, but Somerset director of cricket Brian Rose said: "It is a long and taxing season and the fixture list offers few chances to take a break.

"We want Marcus to be fit physically and mentally for some big games ahead."

Tune into BBC Radio 5 live for regular updates from Taunton on India's three-day tour match against Somerset.

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