West Indies v England, 4th Test, Barbados February 25, 2009

Can Windies find their groove back in Bridgetown?

Cricinfo staff
The Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, once a fortress where anything less than a win for West Indies was tantamount to defeat, has in recent years reflected the stark reversal in the fortunes of the home team

Shivnarine Chanderpaul has scored 1059 runs in 12 Tests in Barbados, at an average of 66.18 © Getty Images

The Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, once a fortress where anything less than a win for West Indies was tantamount to defeat, has in recent years reflected the stark reversal in the fortunes of the home team, playing host to five losses in seven Tests since 2002. (Click here for West Indies' overall record in Barbados, and here for their performances since 2002.) England inflicted a convincing eight-wicket defeat on West Indies in Barbados during their last tour to the Caribbean in 2004 - when they won the Test series 3-0 - and have the best record among visiting teams who've played more than five Tests at the venue, winning three and losing four in 13 attempts. However, the momentum is with West Indies after a massive win in Jamaica and a fighting draw in Antigua; and given the absence of Andrew Flintoff, they stand a good chance of sparking a revival at what was once their most preferred venue. Besides Flintoff, Steve Harmison is the only member of current England's squad to have played a Test in Barbados.

West Indies' record at the Kensington Oval
Record  Played Won Lost Win-Loss Ratio
Before 2000 35 19 3 6.33
Since 2000 9 2 5 0.40
v England 13 4 3 1.33

Among batsmen in the current West Indies squad, Shivnarine Chanderpaul remains the highest run-getter in Barbados with 1059 in 12 Tests at 66.18. He has scored three fifties - two against Australia - and a match-winning 153 against Pakistan in his last four innings. Chanderpaul has managed one half-century in three innings this series, and will bank on his record at the venue to follow up on his impressive run since the start of 2008. However, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle have both struggled in Barbados. Sarwan will be encouraged by his century in Antigua as he tries to improve on his record at the Kensington Oval, where he averages 29 in nine Tests. His highest score at the venue was on his debut against Pakistan in a drawn game in May 2000, when he made an unbeaten 84. Gayle corrected his below-par record at Sabina Park, his home ground, with a century in the first Test and will hope to do something similar in Barbados, where he has averaged 28.33 in eight Tests.

West Indies' current batsmen in Barbados
Players  Matches Runs Average 100s/50s
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 12 1059 66.18 3/7
Ramnaresh Sarwan 9 435 29.00 0/4
Chris Gayle 8 425 28.33 0/4
Devon Smith 2 93 23.25 0/1
Ryan Hinds 2 30 7.50 0/0

Fidel Edwards has 14 wickets at 25.64 in his four games in Barbados, much better than his career average of 38.83. Overall, fast bowlers have performed better than spinners in the past decade at Kensington Oval. In 2004, nineteen of West Indies' 20 wickets - one being a run-out - fell to England's fast bowlers: Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison, Simon Jones and Flintoff. However, the averages for spinners improve drastically across innings in matches this decade: 78.60 in the first, 32 in the second, 28.19 in the third and 21.77 in the fourth. The averages for fast bowlers move in the other direction across innings, but it steps up gradually from 26.82 in the first to 33.16 in the fourth.

Pace v spin at the Kensington Oval this decade
Type  Overs Wickets Average Economy-rate
Pace 2174.5 217 29.60 2.95
Spin 950.2 78 34.34 2.81
Pace for Windies 1166.1 108 32.76 3.03
Spin for Windies 457.0 30 42.43 2.78

Despite winning seven out of the nine tosses at Kensington Oval this decade, West Indies have only won twice - an indication of their poor run in the recent past. They have chosen to field in five of those games, winning one and losing three. England batted second in their win in 2004.

History at the Kensington Oval
Record  Won Lost Draw Win-loss ratio
Team winning the toss 14 15 15 0.93
Team batting first 14 15 15 0.93
Team choosing to bat first 3 4 11 0.75
Team choosing to field first 11 11 4 1.00