England motivated by first Test humiliation
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua (AP) - Motivated by the humiliating opening Test defeat, England also is under pressure to beat a resurgent West Indies when the second Test starts today.
England was bowled out for 51, its third lowest total in history, as it slumped to an innings defeat last Saturday with a day to spare in Jamaica.
But batsman Paul Collingwood stressed that strong words must be backed up by strong performances on the field at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
"When you get bowled out for a score like that it is very hard to bounce back straight away," Collingwood said on Wednesday. "It affects everybody. It affects people’s confidence.
"As individuals, we want to up our performances and get each other in the right mental frame of mind, with confidence, belief and freedom to play the way we know we can. That is important.
"Hopefully, this is a wake up call for us to start winning again," he added.
"Everyone is desperate to do this, we are very confident we can bounce back. We realize we have the players in the dressing room to do it, so it will be up to those individuals to do it.
"We can’t just paint over the cracks and say it is hunky-dory. We have to do it."
England’s defeat ended a 16-Test unbeaten run against West Indies, including 13 wins, since 2000.
It has won the last four series between them for the Wisden Trophy. Until 2000, England hadn’t won a series against West Indies for more than 30 years.
England’s selectors will also be under scrutiny as they choose the 11 for the second of four Tests.
No. 3 Ian Bell was at risk after averaging just 19.45, with one half-century, in his last 12 test innings. Bell was dismissed for 28 and 4 in the series opener.
Owais Shah, the 30-year-old from Middlesex, waits in the wings to add to his two tests.
Left-arm spinner Monty Panesar followed up a poor tour of India in December with expensive figures of 1-122 in Jamaica.
The home team’s own left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn claimed 8-108 in the match and England has offspinner Graeme Swann and rookie legspinner Adil Rashid, both useful batsmen, as alternatives to Panesar.
West Indies has already made one change with the axing of batsman Xavier Marshall, who was dismissed for a duck at Kingston.
His spot was likely to go to in-form Barbados left-hander Ryan Hinds, who has amassed 585 runs in seven innings in the regional four-day championship. Hinds was also an accurate left-arm spinner.
There may also be a switch at the top of the home team’s order with Lendl Simmons, who plundered 282 off England for West Indies A just over a week ago, a candidate to replace opener Devon Smith, who failed in Jamaica.
With the test in Antigua, West Indies was back where it thrashed England in the $20 million winner-take-all Twenty20 match bankrolled by Allen Stanford last November.
Chris Gayle led that West Indies all-star side, and he came in for more praise this week from coach John Dyson for his maturing as the national captain. Especially as he quit the captaincy just over six months ago, only to change his mind.
"I think he’s grown over the last 12 months and become a lot more comfortable with lots of aspects of the job," Dyson said.
"It’s a difficult job being the captain of an international cricket team. It’s not just your own game you’ve got to worry about, you’ve got to be concerned about the welfare of the other players around you, about media commitments, about all other sorts of responsibilities.
"Chris has shown that he is growing in the role and at the same time his own game is maturing. We have seen in the last six months Chris Gayle that people weren’t sure is there. He is doing very well."
Gayle scored 104 against England for his first century in his native Jamaica. It was also his second straight ton after making 197 against New Zealand at Napier in December.
He has a chance to help West Indies win a second Test in a year for the first time since 2003.
West Indies: Chris Gayle (captain), Denesh Ramdin, Devon Smith, Lendl Simmons, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Ryan Hinds, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Brendan Nash, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Daren Powell, Fidel Edwards, Lionel Baker.
England: Andrew Strauss (captain), Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Owais Shah, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Steve Harmison, Ryan Sidebottom, James Anderson, Monty Panesar, Graeme Swann, Adil Rashid, Tim Ambrose.