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Conquering Indian sub-continent key to England staying Test No.1: Ex-cricketer

August 14, 2011 - London

The Andrew Strauss-led England team can only remain on the Test summit by learning how to win on the brown tracks of Indian and Sri Lanka, former cricketer Vic Marks has said.

"On the horizon are stern challenges, which have to be overcome if England are to remain at No1: Pakistan (in the Middle East) and Sri Lanka this winter, South Africa at home next summer and India away the following winter," Marks wrote in a Guardian article.

"For the South Africa series the balance of the side will stay the same; so, too, the majority of the personnel. It is a simple shoot-out between two fine sides. But winning in the subcontinent is a little more complicated," he added.

England has not won in the Indian sub-continent since 2001, when Duncan Fletcher and Nasser Hussain conjured stunning series victories in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Marks reckons that it is this side's ultimate challenge and it usually requires a change of plan.

"In Sri Lanka England will have to play two spinners and that may also be the case against Pakistan. You may share this column's exasperation for the call for England to play five bowlers during this summer - or indeed during the last Ashes' winter. But the need to introduce a second spinner on the brown tracks and under the unrelenting sun of Colombo or Chennai will have to prompt a change," Marks wrote.


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