Swann says no let-up by England ahead of Oval Test

Graeme Swann felt India could give a better account of themselves as to why they have failed to reach the 300-run mark in six innings Getty Images

By Ashish Shukla

London: Aug 16, 2011

While praising Rahul Dravid for his resolute batting, England off-spinner Graeme Swann said that there will be no let-up from their side when the fourth and final Test against India starts here on Thursday.

“We are not thinking (the) series is over. Any backslapping and pat on the back can save itself for November,” Swann, whose side has already taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series and the world No. 1 ranking, said.

Swann cited the example of last Ashes series in Australia where England entered the final Test in Sydney with the 2-1 advantage in the series, but showed no signs of complacency, winning the game by an innings and 83 runs.

“After Melbourne Test, everyone said the hard work had been done and wouldn’t blame England for taking their foot off the pedal. But we reserved our best in Sydney.

“If we are at the halfway mark in this Test, we would be doing very well. Besides, nobody would like to be in the room with (coach Andy ) Flower if we did take our foot off.”

As far as Dravid was concerned, the offie was full of praise.

“He has been exceptional. He has challenged our bowlers the most. He has used his feet and crease very well. He’s looked in real good form. He’s the wicket which is cherished the most. Once you get him, you sense it should send shockwave through the Indian batting the wall or rock or whatever you call him is gone. You sense you’re a little further into their batting,” Swann said.

England’s pace bowling has been devastating in the series but they were dealt a blow after James Anderson was reported unfit for the Oval Test.

“He’s fine. I didn’t know he was injured. He didn’t seem to be limping when out of car. He said it was just stiffness.

When he’s doing well, he is hungry to keep it going. If not, he doesn’t mind a week’s off.”

Despite the Anderson blow, England are not worried as they have a strong bench strength.

“When we missed Chris Tremlett, we thought it as a big loss but (Chris Bresnan) Bressi has been unbelievable over the last two Tests. We have a vast stock of fast bowling. I don’t know from where they all are coming but they all are around at the same time.”

While his side has dominated India in all the three Tests, Swann himself hasn’t had a very good series, picking up four wickets at 80.25.

“It would be nice to play a bit more role. I did bowl well at Edgbaston but was disgusted with my bowling at Trent Bridge. It’s my home ground but you feel like taking leave when Tests come around at that venue.

“It hasn’t been a hot and dry summer. Someone up there looked after us by giving cloudy and moisture conditions. I hope it’s dry out there but there are 3-4 guys hoping it’s a bit damp.”

Despite the Indian batting’s failure to reach the 300-mark in six innings here, Swann felt the visitors could give a better account of themselves at the Oval.

“The break India had from Test cricket worked in our favour. India went to West Indies which is 100 degrees and not swinging. Conditions are completely different here. I certainly wouldn’t write off Indians. We need to be on top of our games to keep them under 300.”

Swann also found it hard to believe that the series has panned out in a way he had wanted, but added that the real test would be the tour of the sub-continent where they play against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India later this year.

“When we went to Loughbrough (cricket academy), if anyone had looked how we plotted, he would have found it incredibly implausible given the results we have had. Anyone would’ve seemed sensationalist what we had on the board but it has panned out exactly so.

“The litmus test though would be where we are as a team if we do well in those very hostile conditions.” (PTI)