Saturday 8 August, 2020

Brian Lara says first impressions are key as Windies tackle England

West Indies great Brian Lara.

West Indies great Brian Lara.

Brian Lara has urged West Indies to "pounce immediately" and rattle England early on in their three-Test series.

The Windies great, formerly the all-time record run-scorer in Tests, believes his countrymen will struggle if matches go the full five-day distance.

But he sees West Indies as having the players who can impose themselves on their hosts, with the behind-closed-doors series starting in Southampton on Wednesday.

The match is scheduled to start at 11am (5am Jamaica Time/6am Eastern Caribbean Time).

"They have to hit the road running and stamp their authority on England," Lara said in quotes published by the BBC.

"I don't think they can last five days, so they have to take these games in four days. They have to establish a lead and keep it."

Lara still holds the highest individual score in Tests - the 400 not out he scored against England in Antigua in 2004.

He knows what it takes to pick apart an England bowling attack, and West Indies' 2-1 series victory over the same opponents last year suggests the current breed can also more than hold their own.

Whether the West Indies can be as competitive in English conditions as they were in the Caribbean remains to be seen.

"They have to be able to pounce immediately," said Lara. "England are not beaten very easily at home and are overwhelming favourites."

According to the 51-year-old Trinidadian, the tone for the series could be set on day one.

Lara said: "If they play good cricket on the first day of the Test series, show they have the mettle to perform against England, that's the key."

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