ENGLAND captain Andrew Strauss believes beating India on home soil will require an effort on par with winning the Ashes in Australia.
The eagerly anticipated four Test series between the two sides vying to be ranked the No1 Test team in the world begins at Lord’s today with Strauss confident his team are on the verge of delivering something special.
Last winter’s demolition of Australia so far represents the highlight of Strauss’s tenure and the Middlesex left-hander appreciates it will require a series of equally disciplined performances to topple MS Dhoni’s ultra-talented side.
“Cricket-wise it is certainly as big a challenge as the Ashes,” said Strauss, who scored a century against the tourists for Somerset last week.
“I don’t think this series needs a lot of hype, because it is India versus England – two very good sides. The recipe is there for it to be a very entertaining series.
“India are a very, very good cricket side and have been for a while now. We have a great opportunity to play some really good cricket and hopefully pull off something special over the next five weeks.”
If England are to prevail they will have to find a way of stemming the amount of runs likely to flow from the bat of Sachin Tendulkar.
The Little Master, 38, is set to embark on his final tour of England and will hope to mark it with a 100th international century, but Strauss has other ideas.
“We’re not focusing on Sachin any more or less than any other Indian player but clearly we don't want that fairytale for him to come true.
“We need to deliver our plans and hopefully by doing that we’ll limit his chances of getting that hundred.”
India skipper Dhoni, meanwhile, paid a warm tribute to Tendulkar and instructed his younger players to learn from him while they still have the opportunity to do so.
“I think his love and passion for the game is what keeps him going. He keeps things very simple and doesn’t complicate things,” he said.
“Overall I think he is the ideal cricketer to look up to for how he has conducted himself on and off the field of play.”
TENDULKAR’S TONS | FIVE OF THE BEST
114 v Aus (1992): On a typically fiery Perth wicket an 18-year-old Tendulkar negated the threat of Craig McDermott.
136 v Pak (1999): The Little Master battles against a back injury and takes India to the brink of victory against Pakistan.
186* v NZ (2000): The highest score by an Indian in a one-day international.
241* v Aus (2003): A remarkable feat of endurance against Shane Warne on a turning Sydney wicket.
175 v Aus (2009): Fell just short of helping to pull off a remarkable victory.