Upbeat WI seek series triumph
An upbeat West Indies will look to make history at a venue synonymous with memorable achievement when they take on England in the decisive third Test starting today (5 a.m. Jamaica time) at Lord's.
Having already broken a 17-year winless streak in England by winning the second Test at Headingley last week, the Caribbean side now find themselves on the brink of their first series victory in England in nearly three decades.
In fact, the last West Indies series win came in 1988 when Sir Vivian Richards spearheaded a 4-0 success in a five-match rubber and while the accomplishment remains at the forefront of current captain Jason Holder's mind, he said more important to his young side was execution of the basics and their team plans.
"It would be great to win a series in England but there's a process towards going about that and we can't focus on the end result - our focus is our process," he told reporters here yesterday.
"I've spoken about consistency a lot on this tour so far and that's the main objective for me. Once we are consistent and we do the small things well, that end result should be more or less in our favour."
That West Indies find themselves level in the series is a miracle in itself. They were written off - and justifiably so - after an amateurish performance in the first Test at Edgbaston which saw them lose 19 wickets on the third day to plunge to an innings and 209-run defeat.
However, they somehow mustered the courage to rebound, stunning England by five wickets at Headingley after chasing down 322 on the final day.
At the centre of the revival was a nonchalant 23-year-old, Shai Hope, who stroked majestic hundreds in either innings to become the first player to do so at the venue in 127 years of first class cricket there.
Focus on execution
Holder said, however, that the focus over the next few days would be executing as a team and not necessarily depending on one individual.
"I try not to let the guys focus too much on themselves and most of the guys are not like that anyway," he stressed.
And West Indies will have a realistic chance of victory against an England side which displayed vulnerabilities at Headingley.
They were rolled over for 258 in their first innings and despite an improved showing in the second innings, their attack proved ineffective when West Indies chased on the final day.
Holder told reporters it was important the Windies put pressure on the inexperienced batsmen in the England line-up.
"One thing I spoke about at the beginning of this series was the inexperience of their top order. Obviously (Mark) Stoneman is now coming in, Dawid Malan is pretty fresh and obviously Tom Westley," the all-rounder noted.