West Indies ready for 'momentous' Lord's encounter

'I'm glad to be here with him' (3:24)

West Indies pair Shai and Kyle Hope talk about growing up playing cricket and how it feels to represent their country together at Lord's (3:24)

Few would have predicted a decider at Lord's after the thrashing at Edgbaston but West Indies captain Jason Holder believes the confidence born out of their performance at Headingley could lift his side to victory in a "momentous" match.

Only two members of this West Indies squad - Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel - have played a Test at the home of cricket, adding to the sense of occasion for Holder's men.

"It's obviously a momentous game for everybody," Holder said, speaking at Lord's on the eve of the match. "Especially in our group. A number of us are playing our first Test match here at Lord's, our first series in England. There's a lot to play for, and our guys are really up for it."

West Indies haven't won a Test series in England for 29 years but go into the final match having beaten their opponents in two of their last three Tests (going back to Barbados in 2015). Victory at Headingley was West Indies' first in England in 17 years and further history beckons.

It is a rare challenge for Holder, still relatively callow in his captaincy. In some ways, his side has already surpassed expectations and inspired hope for the future. Should they acquit themselves well at Lord's, no matter the result, they will have gained the respect of many who perhaps underestimated their qualities. But they would gain so much more with victory.

"It would be great to win the series in England, but there's a process towards going about that," Holder said. "We can't focus on the end result.

"Our focus is our process. I spoke about consistency a lot on this tour, and that's the main objective for me. Once we're consistent and do the small things well, that end result should be more or less in our favour."

There have been unforeseen and unfortunate distractions in the build-up to the final Test. Bowling coach Roddy Estwick has returned to Barbados after the death of his mother and in his absence former Middlesex, Sussex and Yorkshire swing bowler Paul Hutchison has temporarily stepped into the role. Holder hopes Hutchison's local knowledge will prove invaluable.

"We've tried to get as much information as possible coming into this game," Holder said. "We've got the luxury of having an outsider, Paul Hutchison, give us some tips about how to bowl here at Lord's. He's had some experience of bowling here at Lord's.

"There's a lot of talk about the slope and such and we've studied it and had a chance to formulate some plans about how we go it. But cricket is always played on the day. You may be faced with different dilemmas and you just have to adjust and cope with it. That's the nature of professional sport."

The threat of devastation from Hurricane Irma throughout the Caribbean has also loomed large in the thoughts of the players, particularly for Antiguan Alzarri Joseph, whose island was originally feared to be in the direct path of the storm.

"I understand it hasn't done major damage to Antigua, where Alzarri is from," Holder said. "It's gone further up north. We just hope the islands it is going to affect, the people prepare well and hopefully they are not hurt too badly.

"We send our prayers back home, we have everybody back home in our thoughts and prayers. There's not much we can do from here but sit and pray and wish them all the best."

West Indies declined to name a team before the toss, deciding to take another look at the pitch. It will, no doubt, have surprised them to see it displaying odd markings, known as 'fairy rings', caused by fungus spores below the turf. One perfect ring sits just short of a length for batsmen at the Pavilion End - perfectly positioned as a 'bullseye' for short balls coming from the Nursery End.

But who will bowl them for West Indies remains unclear. It could be the case that Devendra Bishoo misses out on the final Test - he bowled 31 overs at Headingley, compared to the 44 bowled by Roston Chase - giving West Indies the option of including an extra seamer. Miguel Cummins and Joseph played in the first Test at Edgbaston while Raymon Reifer was particularly impressive in the nets at Lord's on Wednesday.

But whoever walks out at Lord's will have the opportunity to create their own history, the challenge put to them by their coach, Stuart Law, at the start of the series. Some have already done so, with Shai Hope becoming the first batsman to score two centuries in a first-class match at Headingley. But, for a team which - more than any other international side - seems to have the ghosts of the past constantly hovering, making history at Lord's would quieten talk of past legends and garner hope that last week's victory was no false dawn.

"It has done a lot," Holder said of the Headingley win. "The first game, pretty much everybody wrote us off. Our heads were a bit down after how we got defeated in the first Test match.

"To pick ourselves back up and come back and respond how we did at Headingley was remarkable. It's obviously given us some new life. We've got a chance to win this series so we are going out in this last Test match to win it."