Coach wants Windies to show early intensity
Coach John Dyson urged West Indies to shake off a lacklustre start against England in the drawn third Test and bring an early spark into the fourth Test beginning on Thursday.
The home team enters the match at Kensington Oval clinging to a 1-0 lead in the five-match series after its last pair hung on for a tense draw in the third Test in Antigua four days ago. Dyson admitted he was disappointed with his players for not bringing the momentum of its innings victory in Jamaica's opening Test into Antigua, even allowing for the distraction of the abandoned second Test that lasted 10 balls.
"I felt in Antigua that the first session of the game where we should have been really pumped up and aiming to really stamp ourselves on the match, we didn't," Dyson said.
"It lacked that intensity. It lacked, I suppose, passion that we saw come out on the last afternoon when we had to fight like mad to survive."
Then, tailenders Daren Powell and Fidel Edwards defied the visitors for 60 balls in a last wicket stand that preserved their team's slim series lead.
West Indies was outplayed in Antigua but Dyson said neither team can claim it has the psychological edge at the moment. "I don't think any side has any great advantage in terms of momentum," he said. "Both teams have played periods of excellent cricket and both teams have played some poor cricket." West Indies has had a stable buildup, naming the same squad of 13 and Dyson claims that the short break has revitalized the players. "The boys have gone home and had their mum's cooking. They really enjoyed that," he said with a laugh.
By contrast, England's buildup has been disruptive. A hip injury that ruled out allrounder Andrew Flintoff was quickly followed by the forced absence of No 1 wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who flew back to England to be with his wife, Emily, and new baby son. Prior's spot will be filled by reserve gloveman Tim Ambrose but the replacement for Flintoff is less straightforward. The selectors are likely to include an extra batsman in either Ian Bell or Ravi Bopara but could also recall left-arm pacer Ryan Sidebottom if they opt to be aggressive and choose a five-man bowling attack.
But Dyson warned that the forced changes in England's team were unlikely to be a big factor in the match.
"I'm hoping it will affect them negatively, obviously, but it's a professional unit, these things you just work around," he said. One factor which will encourage England is the huge band of travelling fans who will descend on Kensington Oval in their thousands. The foreign support is expected to outnumber the local support by three to one at West Indies' oldest Test ground. "It's a motivating factor for both teams. The English love the support," Dyson said. "It motivates us, too, if they are out there on your own turf yelling against you, it still lifts you up. "We expect larger numbers of English supporters in Barbados than we do for the local supporters. It's just the whole atmosphere. It's a motivating factor. If you've got a huge section of the crowd yelling for the English, it motivates you just to get out there and do something about that."
West Indies: Chris Gayle (captain), Devon Smith, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Ryan Hinds, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Brendan Nash, Denesh Ramdin, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Daren Powell, Fidel Edwards, Lionel Baker, Lendl Simmons.
England: Andrew Strauss (captain), Alastair Cook, Owais Shah, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Tim Ambrose, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steve Harmison, James Anderson, Ryan Sidebottom, Monty Panesar, Amjad Khan, Adil Rashid.