England need to be aggressive to level series

England can't win the series anymore but it can still draw with West Indies and keep the Wisden Trophy it's held since 2000.

updated: March 06, 2009 17:27 IST
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Port-of-Spain, Trinidad:

England can't win the series anymore but it can still draw with West Indies and keep the Wisden Trophy it's held since 2000.

Without a win since August, England's last chance at glory in the Caribbean starts on Friday in the fifth and final cricket Test at Queen's Park Oval.

West Indies, leading 1-0, was also highly motivated, with the prospect of a first series victory against anybody in five years.

"We can't afford to lose or draw this game," England captain Andrew Strauss said after training on Thursday.

"Everything we do this week has got to be with that idea in the back of our minds. We need to win the game. A draw is not good enough.

"We can either wallow in despair and think, oh, we might lose it, or we can pick ourselves up and say, 'Well, let's win this game.' It's up to us and the type of cricket we play this week.

"We're very confident we can do it. Certainly the cricket we've played in the last two Test matches suggests that we can beat the West Indies.

"There's a bit of pressure to go out and perform but I think we take a lot of confidence over what's happened in the last couple of Tests."

West Indies skipper Chris Gayle admitted his team was caught between protecting its series lead and pressing for another victory.

"It's a tricky situation to be honest with you. We don't want to go in there with the mind-set like we're playing for a draw," Gayle said. "We still have to go out there and play positive cricket.

"England has to throw everything at us and we expect it to be tough. We just have to go out there and do the basic things right."

West Indies won the first Test by an innings, and out-batted England in the last two matches.

Without a series win since 2004, West Indies can shake off years of mediocrity by ending the drought, Gayle said.

"We are just around the corner. We haven't turned it as yet. There is still a long way to go," he said.

"This is actually a point where we can say, 'Yes, we can turn the corner once we win the series.' We have a hand on the trophy right now. We just have to see what happens in the next couple of days."

Gayle said there was "certain to be changes" to the team, which would seem to indicate that their patience with underachieving fast bowler Daren Powell was at an end and that Lionel Baker would be given his second Test cap.

Strauss hinted that England will field a five-pronged attack as he predicted a pitch which would give more assistance to bowlers, who have struggled on good batting surfaces in the previous two Tests.

"It looks like there's going to be a little bit of help in it for the bowlers but exactly how much there is remains to be seen," he said. "It certainly doesn't look as flat as the last couple of wickets we've played on but I still think bowlers are going to have to work reasonably hard for their wickets."

West Indies: Chris Gayle (Captain), Devon Smith, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Ryan Hinds, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Brendan Nash, Denesh Ramdin, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Fidel Edwards, Lionel Baker, Daren Powell, Lendl Simmons.

England: Andrew Strauss (Captain), Alastair Cook, Owais Shah, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ravi Bopara, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steve Harmison, James, Anderson, Amjad Khan, Ryan Sidebottom, Monty Panesar, Ian Bell, Adil Rashid, Tim Ambrose.