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We're a surprising lot - Dyson

Investec Test Series

Lendl Simmons

Lendl Simmons is the only West Indies batsman to record a century in three tour matches since arrving in England

Coach John Dyson is confident West Indies will bounce back from their crushing defeat by England Lions to deliver a performance in the opening Test.

The tourists' build-up to the start of the two-Test series has been hampered from the start and has resulted in sub-par displays in their three warm-up games.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Jerome Taylor delayed their arrival on the tour due to injury, while captain Chris Gayle and strike bowler Fidel Edwards have been absent on Indian Premier League duty.

West Indies have failed to reach 250 in three of their four innings, and it has left coach John Dyson with just two full days of training to try and solve their stuttering batting form before they take on England at Lord’s.

Dyson's challenge would be a major one under any circumstances, but it has been made all the more difficult by the belated arrival of Edwards today and the delayed departure from South Africa of Gayle, who was given permission to stay an extra day with Kolkata Knight Riders.

But former Australian batsman Dyson is backing his squad to perform at Lord's and will remind them of England's imperious form in the build-up to the opening Test at Jamaica in February, only for them to collapse to an innings defeat.

"I think we can perform at Lord's," stressed Dyson. "We're a surprising lot and we bounce back from things.

"I just think back to the Caribbean a couple of months ago when everyone scored hundreds for England in the practice game before the first Test at St Kitts and got bowled out for 51 in the first Test."

Dyson’s first task will be to iron out the technical deficiencies which mean the majority of the top order will enter Wednesday's Test without a major score since their arrival.

Lendl Simmons is the only batsman to make a century in the tour matches, while there are concerns over opener Devon Smith after only 46 runs in four innings and Ramnaresh Sarwan - man of the series during the winter Test series win over England - who has scored only 48 runs in three innings.

Ramnaresh Sarwan

Ramnaresh Sarwan is among those who have struggled for form - but the tourists remain upbeat ahead of the first Test

But Dyson remains upbeat about their prospects, stressing: "If you look at the guys who you would think would make the Test line-up, Shiv has had a couple of good knocks, Lendl Simmons has had a couple of good knocks, (Brendan) Nash has done all right and Sarwan has had a couple of promising starts.

"It's a bit of a worry that Devon Smith or Dale Richards haven't had a start at the top of the order with the new ball, so that's a bit of a concern, but there is still time before the first Test."

Captain Gayle's delayed arrival has also complicated the situation and Dyson has admitted his decision to remain for an extra day in South Africa was not "ideal".

For all their apparent problems, which were laid bare by an impressive performance by the Lions in Derby to secure a 10-wicket triumph with a day to spare, captain Rob Key also believes they will provide a test for England at Lord's.

"I've been on tours when this sort of thing has happened," said Key. "When we beat South Africa the last time we were out there, we lost the game against South Africa A before the first Test and came back pretty well.

"Sometimes when you get beaten, it helps get rid of any complacency you might have had and makes you work that little bit harder."

He added: "The England team in these conditions should be the better side, but you never want to underestimate the West Indies.

"Jerome Taylor is a decent newball bowler and when Chris Gayle comes back that's going to be a big boost for these guys.

“It's good that the 'A' side has been able to beat them, but I don't think it will mean a lot once they get to Lord's."

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