Lara calls for response

Brian Lara

Brian Lara © Getty Images

West Indies captain Brian Lara hopes his side have had their lacklustre display for the tournament following the three-wicket defeat to England in Ahmedabad.

The current holders of the ICC Champions Trophy crown failed to defend their total of 272 for four at the Sardar Patel Stadium as a Kevin Pietersen-inspired England made the highest score of the 11 matches here to date.

They appeared on course to progress with a 100 per cent record from Group A when Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo, who struck the first hundreds of this year’s event, were in tandem.

Shoddy bowling at the start of England’s innings evened things up, but Lara nevertheless clung to the positive signs ahead of the semi-finals.

“The fact that we got two centurions and a good total on the board means the guys are going to gain a lot of confidence,” he said.

“The likes of Ian Bradshaw, one of our strike bowlers in the one-day game, is definitely going to come back.

“If you have to have a hiccup this is a good time to have it. We’re going to move on very positive. Even if we won it’s a do-or-die situation from now so we know what we have to do.”

Left-hander Gayle played in a more sedate fashion than is his norm as his half-century spanned 80 deliveries, and he took 17 balls to go through the 90s before bringing up his 14th ODI hundred.

From a position of 199 for one after 40 overs, West Indies should have posted a score closer to 300.

Fidel Edwards

Fidel Edwards was expensive with the new ball as England began well © Getty Images

Only 19 runs came from the final three overs, in fact, as Sajid Mahmood struck twice to finish as England’s leading wicket-taker in the tournament.

“It’s something we’ll talk about when we meet,” said Lara. “We need to maximise every part of our game. The guys are aware that we were 10-15 runs short of where we should have been.

“The fact that the two guys committed themselves to staying out there set us up and it was perhaps at the very end where we were those 10 or 15 runs short.

“That said, we could have defended that total - it’s one of the highest scores of the tournament.”

New-ball pair Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor were dominated by England openers Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell, who both hit half-centuries, and finished with combined figures of 15.3-0-120-0.

Although man-of-the-match Chris Gayle and fellow off-spinner Marlon Samuels redressed the balance with five wickets between them, the platform built early on allowed Pietersen to set himself for a final assault.

“In the first 15 overs, the way we bowled allowed England to score too many runs,” bemoaned Lara.

“They were scoring at more than a run-a-ball in a period where many wickets have been taken in this tournament.

“Our fast bowlers did not put the ball in the right areas and test the batsmen.”

Lara is still troubled by a back niggle but is confident his condition will improve for the last-four clash with South Africa in Jaipur.

“I’m surviving,” he said. “I’m not 100% but I’m getting through.”

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