Matthew Hoggard will have the opportunity to join England's elite list of bowlers this week - but he will not be counting.

Yorkshire swing bowler Hoggard earns his 50th cap in the second Test against India at the Punjab Cricket Association here today, needing only three wickets to surpass Jim Laker and take his place in the top ten English wicket-takers.

Not that Hoggard, whose outstanding display in Nagpur helped England dominate the drawn first Test, has kept a tally of his 191 Test successes as former colleague Darren Gough famously did.

Gough kept a list of England's most successful bowlers in the lid of his cricket coffin and would tick individuals off as he passed them.

But Hoggard said: "I am completely the opposite, I couldn't tell you how many wickets I have taken at the moment. I don't even have a coffin, it is bags these days and the only thing stuck to the top of that is dirt from the last time I didn't clean my boots properly."

So often the unheralded member of England's successful four-pronged pace attack - he once dubbed himself the 'pea shooter' due to his lack of pace - there is some speed regarding his productivity.

Should he take the nine wickets required for his double century in the next two Tests, only Gough, who marked his 50th cap in style, Ian Botham, John Snow, Alec Bedser and Fred Trueman of his compatriots will have reached the landmark at a swifter rate.

"It means a lot to me, just being selected each time means a lot to me," said Hoggard, of his half-century. "I only ever look to the next game so it is a big honour for me to be selected for 50."

He keeps star company these days, with only Muttiah Muralitharan, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne ahead of the 29-year-old in the Test bowling rankings.

Hoggard rose to fourth with a six-wicket haul in the first innings at Nagpur and match figures of 46.5-20-86-7, the kind of performance to rank alongside his dozen scalps in Johannesburg a year ago, a hat-trick in Barbados or his inaugural seven-for in New Zealand in 2002.

"That was the best I have ever bowled for England in a Test match, it was the most consistent spell I have bowled and hopefully I can keep on reproducing that over here," said Hoggard, of last week's toil on a lifeless pitch. "Some days are better than others but hopefully I can click into that rhythm I found in Nagpur.

"I have heard about the rankings, it is very much an honour to be up there but they change from week to week so you have to keep putting in the performances if you want to stay there.

"Here it is about patience, really, you are not going to blast a batsman out or get a huge amount of help from the pitch. You have to put pressure on by drying the runs up and wait for a mistake."

That kind of maturity has developed over Hoggard's six years as an international; a sharp contrast to his early days. He said: "My thinking was fragile and I was a very naive bowler, it took me a few games to come up with the idea of putting it there or thereabouts and let the batters make the mistakes rather than searching for wickets."