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England prepare for Ireland threat Published: 01 March 2011

All eyes will be on England’s bowlers as they look to avoid an ICC World Cup upset against Ireland in Bangalore.

England’s attack has suffered at the hands of Netherlands and India, having conceded 630 runs in the opening two fixtures.

The batsmen, led by tournament top scorer Andrew Strauss, have ensured England remain unbeaten so far with a patchy victory over Netherlands and a stunning tie against the co-hosts India.

Strauss has made scores of 88 and 158 in the competition but the bowlers, particularly James Anderson, have struggled for control on some batsmen friendly pitches.

Anderson’s tournament tally so far is 1-163 from 19.5 overs which includes the worst ever figures by an England bowler at a World Cup - his 1-91 against India.

Bouncing back

On the other hand Tim Bresnan was exceptional for England in the Bangalore tie, taking career best One Day International figures of 5-48 - including three wickets in one over.

The all-rounder, who turned 26 the day after the match, bemoaned the flatness of the sub-continent tracks, and backed Anderson to return to form:

"There's not a lot of margin for error on these wickets." said the Yorkshireman.

"The Holland pitch was a very good wicket and the one the other night was probably the best we've ever seen to play on, I mean 330 plays 330, you can't really argue with that.

"Jimmy Anderson will be disappointed with his performance but he's a quality bowler and I know he'll bounce back from that and we're all backing him to bounce back. That's where the improvement lies - if we gel as a bowling unit."

Bowling plans

England’s bowling tactics were widely criticised against Netherlands, as the ‘minnows,’ set Strauss’ men a tricky 293 to win.

Their plans will continue to be under the microscope against the Irish on a Bangalore pitch likely to once again favour the batsmen.

Bresnan, who excelled both early on and with the old ball against India, added that variety is likely to play a huge part in England’s plans.

He said: "It's not swinging a great deal up the top and it's not really moving off the seam, so it's quite difficult to take wickets without using variations.

"You've just got to mix it up as much as you can and try to create pressure and get wickets that way.

"You can't really get away with anything wide of off stump. Even on off stump is still wide to some players.

"Different players have their different areas and it's quite difficult to keep it in an area where they can't score."

Irish pride

Of the four Associate nations in the tournament Ireland have come closest to beating a Test-ranked nation - losing a tight encounter with Bangladesh by just 27 runs.

Former MCC Young Cricketer (YC) Kevin O’Brien made 37 and alongside his brother Niall (38) fleetingly gave Ireland a chance of making the 206 needed for victory.

Captain Will Porterfield, another former YC and also an MCC University graduate admitted he was disappointed by the manner of Ireland’s defeat, but expected his side to remain strong for the remainder of the tournament.

He said: "We will take a look at ourselves. The way we have been playing, the two warm-up games, the preparations we have had, we have let ourselves down a bit.

"But if we play the way we have been playing over the last couple of weeks, then I don't think we will have major issues going forward."


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