NOTTINGHAM, England - England will take an unbeatable lead in their three-match series against the West Indies if they win the second Test at Trent Bridge which starts today.
England enjoyed a five-wicket win in the first Test at Lord's, although West Indies did take the match into the fifth day and twice had England wobbling as they pursued a modest target of 191.
But England were only ever one decent partnership away from victory, which came courtesy of Alastair Cook (79) and Ian Bell (63 not out).
Shivnarine Chanderpaul scored 87 not out and 91 at Lord's, but the fact he came in with the total on 3-86 and then 3-36 was a testament to the failings of side's top order.
Opener Adrian Barath, Kieran Powell and Kirk Edwards can expect their techniques to be tested again by James Anderson and Stuart Broad, man of the match at Lord's with an 11-wicket haul, at a Trent Bridge ground renowned for aiding swing bowling.
West Indies have won just twice in their past 31 Tests and are without a win in 15 Tests in England, a run including 13 defeats.
They badly need someone in the top order to lend more support to Chanderpaul and Marlon Samuels, who made 86 in the second innings at Lord's.
"Shiv and Marlon are leading from the front and the younger players are taking a pattern from their book," said West Indies wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.
"Young Adrian Barath and Kieran Powell went into the nets and batted for a long period of time. Their confidence is still high. If they bat for a long period of time in the middle, they will get runs."
The Indian Premier League and disputes with the West Indies Cricket Board have left the tourists without the likes of star opening batsman Chris Gayle as well as Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine.
Meanwhile Ramnaresh Sarwan, like Gayle a former captain, is scoring runs in county cricket for Leicestershire, while paceman Jerome Taylor is injured.
The West Indies suffered another setback when fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, who took four wickets on debut at Lord's, was subsequently ruled out of the tour with a back injury.
However Kemar Roach, who troubled England with a fiery spell on the fourth evening at Lord's, should be fit after suffering a recurrence of a longstanding ankle problem.