BANGALORE, Feb 26 (PTI): Brimming with confidence after their emphatic win in the tournament-opener, India�s resilience and ability to handle pressure in crunch situations will be tested when they take on England in a high-voltage World Cup group-B league match here tomorrow.
A win tomorrow will more or less guarantee India a place in the last eight stage with two victories from as many outings after having thrashed Bangaldesh by a 87 runs in their opening match of the mega-event in Mirpur last week.
Even though England too stand in a similar position with a win from their only outing, going by the present form and track record in the World Cup, Mahendra Singh Dhoni�s men clearly hold an edge over their English rivals.
While it was a superior performance by India against Bangladesh, the same cannot be said about England�s win over the Netherlands. Riding on Virender Sehwag�s explosive 175 and Virat Kohli�s unbeaten 100, India avenged their 2007 shock loss to Bangaldesh, by piling up 370 for four on the board and then restricted the hosts to 283 for nine to start their campaign on a rousing note.
Skipper Dhoni would be hoping for a repeat performance from Sehwag and Kohli tomorrow but it won�t be easy for the duo as England possess a potent bowling attack, which would be eager to make up for their shoddy showing against the Dutch. Champion batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who in all probablity is playing in his swansong World Cup, and Gautam Gambhir both got starts against Bangladesh but failed to capitalise on them and would be desperate to score big against England.
Also, the fact that the famed Indian batting line-up had completely dominated the English attack in the Tests as well as ODIs during the latter�s tour in 2008 will act as a confidence booster for the home team.
However, going by head-to-head record in the World Cup, there is little to seperate the two sides with both winning three matches each against the other.
Overall, India have won 33 of their 59 World Cup matches (25 loss and one no result), while England recorded 37 wins (22 loss) from 60 matches.
Against England, India is expected to go with the same batting combination but a few changes are definitely in the offing in the bowling department, which continues to cause a few worries to skipper Dhoni, particularly the pace attack.
Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan needs consistent support from the other end if India has to contain the opposition batsmen in the first 10 over and at the death stage, which was absent against Bangladesh.
Zaheer�s new ball partner S Sreesanth came in for harsh treatment from the Bangladeshi batsmen as he went for 53 runs off his five overs, even though Munaf Patel gave a good account of himself with 4 for 48 from his 10 overs. In all probability, Sreesanth will make way for Ashish Nehra, who missed the Bangladesh game due to a back spasm. But it would be interesting to see whether India will be tempted to go with an extra spinner in Piyush Chawla, who claimed four wickets in the warm-up game against Australia here, though Dhoni has so far indicated that part-timer Yuvraj Singh and Yusuf Pathan would fill the slow bowlers slot. But going into the match India has a few injury concerns. Sehwag hurt his left rib-cage at the nets yesterday while Yuvraj Singh was struck on the wrist on Thursday by a Sreesanth beamer.
The India team management, however, said that everything was fine in the team and both Shewag and Yuvraj are fit and expected to play tomorrow. England, on the other hand, had reasons to worry about as they survived a close call against the Netherlands in the opening match.
Even though they won the match by six wickets, the Dutch gave England a run for their money. Riding on Ryan ten Doeschate�s brilliant 119, the Netherlands piled up 292 for six and if not for an inexperinced bowling attack, the Oranje side would have created the first upset of the tournament.
Nevertheless, the victory, coming after a 1-6 thrashing at the hands of Australia in the ODI series just before the World Cup, should be a pleasing one for England.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt/wk), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, S Sreesanth, Piyush Chawla, R Ashwin, Ashish Nehra.
England: Andrew Strauss (captain), Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Paul Collingwood, Matt Prior, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright, James Tredwell, Michael Yardy, Chris Tremlett.