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WI batsmen set for stern England exam

cricket Updated: May 17, 2012 01:15 IST

AFP
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West Indies face England in the first of a three-Test series at Lord's in London on Thursday with the tourists' batting likely to determine the course of the match.

Should conditions prove as seam friendly as they have for much of the early part of the English season, the West Indies' top order could struggle to provide the kind of platform that will help improve on a record of just two wins in 30 Tests since beating England in Jamaica in 2009.

Kieran Powell made his second first-class hundred in West Indies' 10-wicket defeat by the England Lions at Northampton last week, a match where number four Darren Bravo made two fifties.

However, Powell's opening partner Adrian Barath and Kirk Edwards managed just 26 runs between them at Northampton, having only compiled 16 and eight respectively in the near washout against Sussex at Hove.

Batting around Shiv
Much could depend on world number one batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who has performed many a rescue mission during a career that last month saw him become only the 10th batsman to score 10,000 Test runs. However, the 37-year-old left-hander generally prefers to bat no higher than five.

There has been talk of promoting Chanderpaul up the order but it appears he is set to stay put - at least for the time being.

"It's something we've thought about," said coach Ottis Gibson.

"Our batting revolves around Shiv - we've decided to leave it as it is at the moment but it's something we haven't completely ruled out."

West Indies will be without Chris Gayle because of his IPL commitments.