Cricket: Flying White Rose flag in Indian quest

Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale, right, is delighted by the way county colleagues Joe Root, left, Jonny Bairstow and Tim Bresnan are representing the White Rose on the sub-continent.
Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale, right, is delighted by the way county colleagues Joe Root, left, Jonny Bairstow and Tim Bresnan are representing the White Rose on the sub-continent.
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The last two men to wear the White Rose armband believe the county’s three representatives on England duty are doing Yorkshire proud.

Tim Bresnan, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root are all at different stages of their international careers, and as England went into the first morning of the third Test in Kolkata, they remained on the verge of helping their country claim an historic series win in India.

For former Yorkshire captain Anthony McGrath and current incumbent Andrew Gale, the progress of the trio has been encouraging.

Gale has been in regular contact with his players on the sub-continent, with their England progress of keen interest to all the Yorkshire players who began pre-season training last week.

“I’ve had texts from all of them and I’ve spoken to Bressy a bit over the internet,” said Gale.

“It was disappointing to see him lose his place for the second Test but he’s a man you should never write off.

“I know Rooty is really enjoying it as well. He might not have had any serious time in the middle but he’s learning so much from the experienced guys. It’s been a great tour for all of them.”

Bairstow, like Bresnan, has found himself in and out of Andy Flower’s side, but Yorkshire batsman McGrath believes he remains on the right course.

McGrath said: “Jonny has been working hard and progressing well. He did really well to get in ahead of Eoin Morgan for the second Test and he did well in the summer against South Africa.

“He’s a young lad and he’s learning all the time.

“An experience like this can only make him a better player.”

Both Gale and McGrath are of the opinion that England will ultimately prevail in the series with India, which was delicately poised at 1-1 going into this morning’s opening day of the third Test.

Gale said: “Not that long ago everyone was writing England off as the worst team to play on the sub-continent.

“Now look at them. For them to have won in the manner they did in the second Test silenced a lot of critics.

“It shows the unity they’ve got in that dressing room, that that one defeat didn’t affect them.

“I believe they can go on and win it. Everyone is contributing and they’re playing with a lot of confidence.”

McGrath added: “England have got a lot of momentum from the last Test when we showed we could play against spin.

“If we can keep putting the India players under pressure, then with the good form of Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann, we have every chance.”

On the return to training, the first tentative steps back on the road to hitting the ground running in April, Gale said: “It’s been nice to have a break from it all.

“We got back last week and that first day was the first chance any of us had had to actually think about cricket again.

“But the buzz was back straight away and everyone’s looking forward to the winter ahead.”

Out in India, England captain Alastair Cook sounded a warning to his players before the start of play at Eden Gardens.

Confidence and self-belief are bolstered after a famous second-Test victory in Mumbai, but the captain warned ahead of the third Test, which began in the early hours, that there is no room for satisfaction at what England have so far achieved.

They began the third match of four with the score level at 1-1, and with many beginning to sense Cook’s team could become the first from England to win a series in India since 1984-85.

But to beat their hosts by 10 wickets at the Wankhede Stadium, they needed four top individual performances from Cook and Kevin Pietersen with the bat, and spinners Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann. They, or others, will all need to excel if England are to head for the final Test in Nagpur with victory in sight.

“It’s given us a lot of confidence,” said Cook. “It’s given us some belief that what we’re doing is the right stuff but that doesn’t mean it’ll count for anything when it comes to this game.”

Jonny Bairstow says England still have three chances to put things right in Australia (Picture: Jason O'Brien/PA Wire).

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