Flower to combat slow start

England v West Indies
Andy Flower

Andy Flower is keen to ensure England start series how they mean to go on

Andy Flower wants to address England's fallibility as slow starters after the loss in the first Test in Jamaica cost them the series against West Indies.

England lost the Test series in the Caribbean despite yesterday's bold effort to dismiss West Indies at Queen's Park Oval.

Ultimately it was the capitulation in Jamaica rather than the inability to claim 10 wickets in 66 overs which cost them at least a share of the campaign.

It is also something of a recurring theme with the last time England won a first Test of a series being four years ago against Bangladesh on home soil.

"The lesson we have to learn is we have to start series well," said Flower.

"I think it was one of Steve Waugh's tenets to make sure you hit the ground running and get in the first punch, we haven't won the first game in a series for a long while and often lost it so we have to do something about that.

"I don't know why but there must be a reason, it can't be a coincidence after so long.

"Maybe it has something to do with the way we treat periods between series, we will have to look at that.

"Andrew Strauss and I and a few others will talk about that and try to come up with a few answers before the next series."

Despite being the victim of West Indies' first Test series win in five years during his temporary charge, Flower's ambition strengthened during the series and he has applied to make his role permanent for the start of the summer when West Indies face England in two more Tests.

"Losing is a disappointment, we came here to win, we are ranked above them, we were expected to win," said Flower.

"We came with our eyes wide open though and knew they would be tough competition on their own turf.

"We have thrown everything at them time and time again and got into winning positions but they have defended well enough to save the day and win the series.

James Anderson

James Anderson has been one of the bowling success stories on the tour of West Indies so far

"It just shows that in Test cricket one bad session can cost the ultimate prize but I don't think it was just that, there were a number of times when we could have won and they thwarted us.

"That was a mistake, though, that set off the type of series that we have had."

England were two wickets short yesterday after valiant efforts from James Anderson, Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar, having come so close to victory in the the third Test in Antigua.

"There are signs of encouragement, without doubt," added Flower. "After that first Test we have played some really good cricket.

"Yes, we haven't bowled them out twice and suffered the consequences for that but some of the big totals we put on the board and the way we got them has been great, led by Strauss up front with everyone contributing.

"We went about it in an aggressive manner, setting up totals to give us the chance to win the games.

"I am also pleased how the bowlers have worked: Jimmy Anderson has got better through the series, he must continue that progression, and seeing Swann and Panesar bowling in tandem and creating pressure was great to watch so I think there are a lot of positives to come out of it."

Anderson and Swann are two of the players to have come out of the series with reputations enhanced, particularly after yesterday's performance in which they shared six wickets equally in West Indies' total of 114 for eight.

The Strauss-Flower regime has also made some high-profile omissions on this trip, including established players such as Ian Bell and Steve Harmison.

"They are just cricketing decisions, for the good of English cricket to win games simple as that," said Flower.

"Some decisions are harder than others but if your intent is good you make them and stand by them."

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