INDIA must have hoped things could only get better after England took a 2-0 series lead but instead they have taken a turn for the worse with confirmation that Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh will miss the last two Tests through injury.
Spinner Harbhajan, whose 406 wickets make him the leading active Test bowler, has a stomach strain and batsman Yuvraj a broken finger, both legacies of the comprehensive defeat at Trent Bridge that left the tourists with a huge task to halt England’s bid to knock them off the top of the world rankings.
The right-hand batsman Virat Kohli will replace Yuvraj, and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha comes in for Harbhajan. He is likely to be out for three weeks, with Yuvraj facing a four-week lay-off. Both may miss part of the one-day international series against England. Gautam Gambhir also missed the second Test at Trent Bridge because of an elbow injury.
India must now hope Zaheer Khan will be able to return from his hamstring injury to lead their attack again in the third Test at Edgbaston next Wednesday and that opening batsman Virender Sehwag, who was due to arrive in England last night after shoulder surgery, wastes no time in finding form. There will be extra work for England as the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed they are to play two Twenty20 internationals against West Indies at The Oval at the end next month.
The England Lions bowlers were given a test of their stamina and resolve by Sri Lanka A at Scarborough, where Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Kaushal Silva put on 147 for the fourth wicket.
But both were out in quick succession as the Lions fought back with the new ball, with Surrey’s Jade Dernbach and James Harris of Glamorgan taking two wickets each, Dernbach adding a run-out from fine leg as the tourists, replying to the Lions’ 299, slipped to 325 for 8.
In the Championship, a brilliant century by 20-year-old Jos Buttler rescued Somerset from 54 for 5 and 93 for 7 to take a 41-run first-innings lead over Sussex, who then stumbled to 87 for 4. Monty Panesar advanced his England claims by taking 5 for 73.
Leaders Durham had Nottinghamshire in trouble at 21 for 4 at Chester-le-Street after Callum Thorp and Graham Onions each took wickets with consecutive balls, but an unbeaten 133 from captain Chris Read and Adam Voges’ 80 helped avoid the follow-on.
Hampshire’s leg-spinner Imran Tahir took six wickets but Anthony McGrath’s first century in almost a year helped Yorkshire score 532 at the Rose Bowl.
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