The West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara insisted on Thursday that his side are capable of snatching a series win against India.
Lara was speaking ahead of the fourth and final Test, which starts on Friday here at the Sabina Park with the series level after the three matches.
The first three games at the Antigua Recreation Ground, the Beausejour Cricket Ground, and Warner Park all ended in draws, and both Lara and India head coach Greg Chappell had to acknowledge that neither seems capable of delivering the knockout punch.
Both teams flew into the Jamaica capital on Tuesday with their sights set firmly on a victory that would clinch the series. â€œI think it is important that this Test doesnâ€™t end in a draw as well,â€ remarked Lara. â€œIt would be disappointing to play four Tests and end up with four drawn matches, so I would really like to see the skill levels of the players both in batting and bowling improve, and hopefully weâ€™ll have a good Test.â€
After hanging on for tense draws in the first two Tests, the West Indies scared the living daylights out of the Indians with a solid batting performance at Basseterre that gave them hope of victory. â€œI am definitely seeing an improvement in our performances,â€ Lara said. â€œWe are improving slowly, and the fact of the matter is that we are still in a series against India, who is ranked higher than us, with one Test to go shows that thereâ€™s some kind of performance enhancement in the way we have played so far.â€
Victory would give the West Indies their first series success in four years over a side rated higher in the ICC Rankings.
Ironically, a victory over Sri Lanka at the Sabina Park, where Lara sprung the surprise package of Fidel Edwards on the unsuspecting visitors, did the trick, but the batting superstar has no such aces up his sleeve this time. â€œMy only concern would be what sort of combination we would need going into this final Test,â€ he said. â€œThere is a lot of confidence to be gained from the St. Kitts Test, but we played an extra batsman - that meant we were less a bowler - and Iâ€™ll say it again, if you want to get 20 wickets, you must pick the players that can get them.â€
The West Indies selection panel however, has rubber-stamped the same squad of 13 for the last Test and Lara will again have to rely on the medium-fast stuff of Jerome Taylor, Pedro Collins, Corey Collymore, and Dwayne Bravo, with the support of the uncomplicated part-time spin of Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels and Ramnaresh Sarwan.
A victory for India would help cement their place at number three in the World and Chappell believes his side has what it takes. â€œWe hope we can keep playing some good cricket and, if we keep doing this, then at some stage we might finish up in front,â€ he said.
â€œObviously, as we have seen in the three Tests so far, youâ€™ve got to be able to play good cricket for five days and if we can do this weâ€™ll give ourselves a good chance for victory.â€
Both teams will keep in the back of their minds that the last eight Tests at the Sabina Park have all had results, with the West Indies winning all but two.
Source:The NewsMore on:Brian Lara, India in West Indies 2006, West Indies
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