Graeme Swann is backing Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott to “see England through” to victory on the fifth and final day of the opening Test at Lord’s
Set 191 for the win after finally dismissing the West Indies for 345, the hosts made a stuttering start as they lost captain Andrew Strauss for one and nightwatchman James Anderson for six to close on 10 for two.
Despite the Windies’ fightback with both bat and ball on the penultimate day, spinner Swann feels England are still on the driving seat.
“It’s unfortunate to lose the captain, obviously, especially after his hundred in the first innings,” he said.
“It was always going to be a tricky 15 minutes, batting in the gloom against a world-class bowler like Kemar Roach.
“But luckily we’ve got through it relatively unscathed.
“We’ve got Trotty [Jonathan Trott] and Cooky [Alastair Cook] at the crease, and we’ll be very confident going into tomorrow that they can see us through.”
The loss of early wickets will no doubt bring flashbacks of England’s horror show in the United Arab Emirates a few months ago when they were bowled out for 72 when chasing 145 for victory against Pakistan.
Swann, though, was quick to point out that the circumstances could not be more different.
“I’m sure we’ll be using our feet a lot more, and not sweeping off the straight!” he said, with a smile.
“They’re completely different. We’ll be very confident going in tomorrow knowing the wicket is still a very good one for batting - if anything a lot better than it was on the first two days.
“The wicket tends to flatten out here, and we hope the ball won’t talk for them, as for us today.
“Once the ball gets to 30-35 overs old, it seems to go a bit out of shape and not be as responsive for the bowlers. If that happens tomorrow, we’ll be very happy.”
Although he knows it will be difficult to pull off, West Indies coach Ottis Gibson says his side will be giving their all as they go in search of the win on Monday.
“It would be massive,” he said.
“We are coming back tomorrow to fight and make them fight for the rest of the runs.
“If it happens that we come back and win then that would be great; we would celebrate.
“But whatever happens tomorrow, we will be coming to fight hard to win because winning is very tough in any conditions.
“Against the number one team in the world, it is even harder.
“We know it’s going to be a battle, but we are up for the battle.”