England Test against India can take minds off riots, Strauss says
Third Test: England v India
- 10-14 August
- Start time:
- 1100 BST
- Live ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio 4 Long Wave & BBC Sport website; live video scorecard on Red Button (not Freeview); live text commentary on BBC Sport website & mobile; watch live on Sky Sports (subscription required); highlights each evening on Channel 5
England captain Andrew Strauss believes the third Test against India can provide a feelgood factor after four nights of rioting across the country.
Birmingham was one of the cities affected and there were fears the Edgbaston match might be postponed.
But with the Test due to go ahead, Strauss said: "This is a chance to put a feelgood factor into the papers.
"[We can] show not everything is bad out there. Let's divorce the match from what is going on in the country."
England's players had to be locked inside their Birmingham hotel on Monday night because of rioting in the city centre.
Strauss added: "Clearly, it's not our proudest moment as a country. When you watch those things on the TV it's horrific.
"We've got to prepare to play a game of cricket though. 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."
England go into the Test knowing victory will ensure they finish the four-match series as the top-ranked Test side in the world for the first time since the ranking system was introduced.
However, the build-up to the match has been overshadowed by the rioting and looting that started in London over the weekend and spread to Birmingham on Monday and Tuesday nights.
England were able to hold a net session on Tuesday though, giving Ravi Bopara some time to readjust to life in the England team.
The Essex batsman will come into the side in place of the injured Jonathan Trott, and Strauss said: "We're all delighted that Ravi has got a chance again.
"He has been knocking on the door for quite a long time. He fills the role that has been vacated very well, with his batting and his ability to bowl a few overs."
England's only other selection issue had been whether to recall Surrey fast bowler Chris Tremlett to the team that won convincingly in the second Test at Trent Bridge but the issue was rendered irrelevant when he was ruled out by a hamstring injury on Tuesday.
India captain MS Dhoni reiterated Strauss' view that the trouble would not affect preparations.
The tourists' batting could be more resilient after their second-innings capitulation in Nottingham with Virender Sehwag returning after shoulder surgery and partnering 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.
Umpires: Simon Taufel and Steve Davis (both Australia)
Third umpire: Rod Tucker (Australia)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)