Dyson doesn't want Antigua repeat
John Dyson, the West Indies coach, wants his players to learn from their mistakes in Antigua and make sure they don't have to fight for a draw again. The outstanding efforts of Ramnaresh Sarwan and the lower order helped them survive with nine wickets down, but Dyson said it should be a warning sign.
"We showed some good character in Antigua," he said, "although I was a bit disappointed with the way we battled and bowled but the end result showed a lot of character. England will come at us even harder this time and we need to be consistently putting big totals on the board in the first innings. England showed you can control the game by doing that."
West Indies let the game slip right from the opening session after Chris Gayle put the visitors in on a surface that was expected to aid the quick bowlers but turned into an excellent batting track. During the game Dyson said hindsight was a wonderful thing and he still supported Gayle's decision. "It was made for all the right reasons," he said. "We lacked intensity and passion, which then came out on the last afternoon when we should have been stamping our authority on the game."
Although Daren Powell was one of the heroes of the rearguard, playing out the final 10 overs with Fidel Edwards before the light faded, he has come under pressure for his sub-par performance with the ball. But Dyson has seen first hand how hard Powell is trying to overcome his problems and believes he can strike form.
"Daren is an honest assessor of his own performances and he realises that it would be great for him to put in some big performances with the ball," Dyson said. "If you watch him work in the nets and around the whole scene you realise he is a very hard worker. I think one of these days we are going to see a spell from Daren that turns his fortunes right around. I'm just waiting for the day when it all clicks for him and he walks away with a five-for."
West Indies' last-gasp draw had them celebrating as though it was a victory while England looked as if they had lost. Coupled with the loss of Andrew Flintoff because of injury and Matt Prior's flying home to see his new baby, it would suggest that momentum is heading the home side's way.
"Both sides have played some excellent cricket and both sides have played some poor cricket," Dyson said. "England have been hit by a couple of injuries so it's a difficult one to say who's got the momentum."
West Indies will again face a challenge off the field with hordes of England fans set to flood the Kensington Oval, outnumbering local supporters. But Dyson wants his players to use that to their advantage and put in a performance to silence the visiting fans.
"It's a motivating factor for both teams. If you are out there with people yelling against you it still acts to motivate you. We expect larger numbers of England supporters here than locals, but it makes you want to do something about it."
Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer at Cricinfo