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Zaheer Khan Out of Second England Testimonial


England look to have one hand gripped on the top rung of the test cricket ladder after recording a stylish victory over the travelling Indian side – who were undone at the key moments by Andrew Strauss' men. Kevin Pietersen picked up the man of the match award after his first massive knock in quite some time – a swashbuckling 202 under pressure in the 1st innings.

The English side declared in both sessions after looking extremely shaky at one point or another – all for the middle or even the tail to dig in and produce powerful performances. Pietersen and Prior forged a convincing partnership in the first innings while Prior and Stuart Broad produced an impressive combined knock as the seventh wicket stand.

Many pro-India observers searched for excuses and the exclusion of Zaheer Khan was chief among the first ones to be trotted out. Things seem to be going from bad to worse for the Indian fans as Khan is confirmed to miss the second test which gets underway at Trent Bridge on Friday.

An England victory is the distinctly favoured outcome from the bookmakers as England are floated at even money a full 24 hours before the toss. India are available to be backed at 3/1 while a drawn test – a favourable outcome for India – is priced at 2/1.

The betting markets indicate that Sachin Tendulkar is looking like the key variable for India and a prodigious knock at Trent Bridge would do wonders for India's confidence. He is the favourite, carrying a 9/1 price, for the man of the match award. A huge pack of English players are priced at 12/1 and James Anderson, Graeme Swann, Kevein Pietersen, Alistair Cook and Jonathan Trott are all listed alongside each other.

Chris Tremlett looks set to miss the test for the English side as he appears to have picked up a niggling injury during his four wicket haul in the opening five-day match at Lord's. While he still hasn't been formally removed from contention, reports from the England camp indicate that he hasn't been able to complete a nets session this week.

English fans should expect to see Tim Bresnan brought into the side to replace the 6'8 pace man.  

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