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England v West Indies: Brian Lara says tourists must try to win in four days

Brian Lara (right, speaking to Shai Hope in 2017) retired from international cricket in 2007

England v West Indies, first Test
Venue: Ageas Bowl, Southampton Dates: 8-12 July Time: 11:00 BST
Coverage: Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra; live text commentary and in-play clips on BBC Sport website; highlights on BBC Two and BBC Sport website at 19:00 (19:30 on Sunday)

West Indies must try and win the Tests against England in four days because they cannot last five days, says legendary batsman Brian Lara.

The three-Test series starts on Wednesday at Southampton.

The tourists have a strong fast bowling line-up but their batsmen average only 23.59 in 19 Tests since their most recent tour of England in 2017.

“They have to be able to pounce immediately,” said Lara, who will be part of the BBC highlights programme.

“England are not beaten very easily at home and are overwhelming favourites.”

Lara, who scored a record 11,953 runs for West Indies in 131 Tests, said the series would depend on how quickly they can adapt to English conditions.

“They have to hit the road running and stamp their authority on England,” said the 51-year-old.

“I don’t think they can last five days, so they have to take these games in four days. They have to establish a lead and keep it.”

The opening Test at Southampton and the second and third at Old Trafford will be played in a bio-secure environment and behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

West Indies have been in the UK since 9 June to prepare for the series.

They are holders of the Wisden Trophy after winning 2-1 in the Caribbean last year, but have not won a series in England since 1988.

“It’s going to be a series that’s watched all around the world and everybody is hoping to see a competitive series,” said Lara, who scored 34 Test centuries.

“It would mean a lot to all West Indians if they could win.

“If they play good cricket on the first day of the Test series, show they have the mettle to perform against England, that’s the key.”

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