Defensive tactics dim enthusiasm of Lara's bright sparks

It has become a fashionable cliché that, in spite of their abysmal record, West Indies are blessed with a bounty of young, richly talented players who simply need experience and the right guidance to break the team's prolonged slump.

There was occasional evidence of it earlier in this series, in the all-round promise of Dwayne Bravo, the fast bowling of Tino Best and Jermaine Lawson and the more established batting of Ramnaresh Sarwan, all under the age of 25.

There was more in this Test. Sylvester Joseph, on debut aged 25, fitted easily into an unaccustomed role as an opener, while Bravo confirmed his potential with his classy 77, which alongside the reliable Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who finished with 76, revived the innings.

It was even more encouraging yesterday. In the first hour, the batting of Carlton Baugh, the little wicketkeeper in his fourth Test only because Ridley Jacobs' stiff, aging right knee had given out, and Dave Mohammed, the left-hander in his second Test primarily for his wrist-spin, brought a spark so repeatedly lacking from earlier efforts.

There was adventure in the strokeplay, the innocence of youth perhaps, that took England by surprise. For the first time in the series, the lower order didn't meekly capitulate. They and the fast bowlers who followed rode blows from aggressive, short-pitched bowling from Stephen Harmison and Andrew Flintoff, with the second new ball - a tactic that once brought strident protests when used by West Indian fast bowlers - to add 120 in the two hours to lunch.

It clearly infused the team with the energy and confidence that it has so frequently lacked. It was no coincidence that England were soon 40 for 3.

But it does not take long for such a favourable position to evaporate for a team unaccustomed to such dominance and unsure of how to make the most of it. As the sunny afternoon wore on and Andrew Strauss and Graham Thorpe gained the ascendancy, the effort rapidly lost its intensity.

Fielders were spread to defensive positions, the body language reflected a resignation to the situation, a crucial, straightforward catch was missed by Sarwan off the bowling of Mohammed with Thorpe on 58 and the groundwork became ragged. It was Lord's and Edgbaston all over again.

Brian Lara was clearly handicapped by the absence of Pedro Collins, his left-arm swing bowler who had his chin split open attempting an ambitious hook at Flintoff. But the first sign of a lack of conviction was his use of Joseph's occasional, uncomplicated medium pace for a couple of overs when England were still under pressure at 66 for 3, even before Mohammed, his principal spinner, was employed.

This shows a defensive mindset, developed after having to make do with limited attacks since his return to the captaincy. But it demonstrates a lack of confidence in his bowlers and that is reflected in their performance.

It is an attitude that soon undermines the enthusiasm of bright sparks like Bravo, Best, Baugh, Mohammed and many others who have shown early potential.

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Wonnacott dancing the pasadoble
TVStrictly Come Dancing The Result
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
BBC's Antiques Roadshow uncovers a TIE fighter pilot helmet from the 1977 Star Wars film, valuing it at £50,000
TV

TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow

News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

Sport
Steven Caulker of QPR scores an own goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Liverpool
football
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past