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
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksJK Rowling to publish new story set in wizard's world for Halloween
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker