England's batsmen are confident they can follow the lead already set by captain Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen, as they prepare for the third Test against India in Kolkata.
Cook's record-equalling 22nd Test century, in England's victory at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium last week, was his second in succession after his tour-de-force 176 in defeat at Ahmedabad. Pietersen's 186 to help level the series, also a 22nd for England to put him and Cook at the top of the all-time list, was one of his finest innings.
England's other frontline batsmen have so far failed to reach those heights on this tour. But Jonny Bairstow, who made nine at number five last week, spoke about the determination to do so. "They played outstandingly well," he said of Cook and Pietersen.
"Cookie played brilliantly in the first two Tests, and then Kevin played the way Kevin does in Mumbai. It was an absolute pleasure to watch those two innings, and I'm sure the guys will take snippets out of those and implement them into their personal games. Anyone would do that from around the world."
Bairstow reported England in appropriately fine spirits, at their first net session at Eden Gardens since a mid-tour break after making it 1-1 with two to play.
"It's definitely an exciting time for us as a batting unit, and then obviously seeing the bowlers bowling so well was very pleasing for us and gives us a great deal of confidence coming forward into the third Test," he added.
Those who bat around Cook and Pietersen are highly capable of producing the goods too, he believes.
"As a team, you always want that dovetail effect," he added. "So that if someone does fail, someone else can step up to the plate ... and get a hundred. The batting is a strong unit ... I'm sure we'll prove that."
Stuart Broad bowled for half an hour in the nets, the first time since his lacklustre performance in the second Test. Steven Finn, who may perhaps replace the vice-captain in a two-man pace attack this week, did not bowl but will on Monday following his recovery from a thigh strain in the early weeks of the tour.
England can expect spin to be favoured once again, on another used pitch which has already caused much controversy. Eden Gardens groundsman Prabir Mukherjee, who spoke out about "immoral" instructions to make sure there was spin from ball one, predicted that it will be a fair surface.
- Sports & Recreation
- Alastair Cook
- Kevin Pietersen