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Mar 10, 2009

England in desperate bid to share series with WIndies

It's a long-shot on a pitch that is flat and is still playing reasonably well, but England are going to make a desperate bid on Tuesday's final day to win the fifth and final Test against West Indies at Queen's Park Oval.

England trail in the five-Test series 0-1, following an innings and 23-run defeat in the opening Test at Sabina Park in Jamaica, and need a victory to share the series and retain the Wisden Trophy, symbol of Test supremacy between the two sides.

At the close on Monday, England were 80 for three in their second innings and leading by 82 runs with seven second innings wickets standing.

Off-spin bowler Graeme Swann, England's bowling hero in the series, believes that the visitors have no other choice if they are to end the Test series in the Caribbean positively.

"I think we have to go in believing we can win," he said.

"We have to be as positive as possible [on Tuesday], and hopefully get a score on the board that we can then, probably not defend, but create a few doubts for the West Indies batsman, and have 40 or 50 overs, and see what happens.

"You never know, we got blitzed out in Jamaica on a pitch that was probably better than this one [in Trinidad], and we'll be hoping for a bit of magic effort from somebody.

"I think we've toiled hard in this series and haven't had a great deal to show for it and probably feel we are due a magic session here or there, so hopefully it's [on Tuesday].

Swann admitted that it has been difficult - sometimes downright frustrating - for England over the last three Tests, having posted big totals and not have things go their way and clinch a victory.

"It's always hard keeping going when its 40 degrees Celsius and you see the Digicel girls dancing in the stands, and you'd rather be in there with them," said Swann, referring to a group of cheerleaders working for the series sponsors.

"It is hard work and we don't have a great deal to show for it, so we will be hoping [on Tuesday] that those frustrations can pass and we can win a Test."

Swann said England are banking on West Indies batting in their typically cavalier style in the second innings, and the visitors would seek to "dangle the carrot" in front of them.

"Probably, if we can get a decent score on the board with Gayle at the top of the order, if he bats, he's certainly going to come out play his shots," the off-spinner said.

"I think the West Indian way is to be more positive than negative, so I'm not sure how many of their batsmen will be able to look at a fairly small total and just be happy to defend and play for a draw."

West Indies need only a draw to secure a series victory over England for the first time in 11 years, and their first series victory over a side above them in the World rankings for six years.

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