Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

England on Brink of Making History; Series Win Would Be a First in the Caribbean

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

England on Brink of Making History; Series Win Would Be a First in the Caribbean

Article excerpt

ENGLAND enter the final match of their troubled Caribbean tour hoping their hard work off the field will reap rewards with their first one-day series victory on West Indies soil, writes MYLES HODGSON.

Nearly 11 weeks since their departure with the tour party in disarray following the sacking of coach Peter Moores and captain Kevin Pietersen, England are on the brink of creating history in the final one-day international at the Beausejour Stadium.

They have suffered humiliations during the tour, including being bowled out for 51 in Jamaica to lose the Test series and being dismissed for 117 in the third oneday international at Barbados - but history is in their sights.

It would be a remarkable achievement for a side who could easily have imploded during those first few uncertain weeks under stand-in coach Andy Flower and hastily-appointed captain Andrew Strauss.

But under a rigorous fitness regime during the one-day series, the side have grown and are now favourites to beat West Indies and win their first one-day success in the Caribbean after failing to win their previous seven series in the West Indies.

"I suppose there was potential for us to go off the rails and we haven't done that," said Strauss.

"To lose the Test series was bitterly disappointing but I think the guys have stuck together very well.

"We've put in a huge amount of work over the last 10 weeks off the field and the guys have responded excellently.

"But we will be judged not on how well we've done in our training sessions but how well we've done on the pitch, which is why this game is a very important one." Strauss' great success as captain during this tour has been persuading the players to accept a gruelling fitness regime which had been universally unpopular under Moores by giving them more of a say into the schedule. It has resulted in England undertaking tough training sessions, including boxing, running and sit-ups both before and during batting in the nets to try and simulate the tiredness felt during a long innings. …

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