We Were Two Batsmen Short - Chris Gayle

Obviously this was a very disappointing Test match for us. We really have to try and improve and better our performance in the next Test after giving a good account of ourselves in first Test at Lord's. It wasn't the best start for us for this test match. Before the game started we lost our most experienced player in Shivnarine Chanderpaul due to injury and then during the England first innings we lost our captain Ramnaresh Sarwan to an accident on the field. So we were two batsmen short in both innings.

However, having said that we as batters should have looked to apply ourselves more in both innings. It is something we have to take into consideration and improve and build on. We have to ensure we capitalize on starts as much as possible.

The conditions were favourable to the bowlers over the last couple of days and it was extremely and bitterly cold as well. It was very difficult to play cricket in those conditions. However we are aware of it now and we have experienced it first hand. We have to be mentally prepared for the next game as the weather is not likely to be much better.

Mentally we have to go back to the drawing board and improve. We have to do more fitness work and technical work. All the other areas where we can improve our game we have to look at and address as well.

I wish the captain a speedy recovery and hopefully he will be back strong again and be ready to rumble for West Indies once more. In the meantime we may be under a new captain for the next game and we have to support him and try to improve and pull through as a team and supporting each other which we have been doing over the past couple of weeks.

We are a week from the next Test and we have a warm up game against the MCC XI. Hopefully the batters can get a good hit and get back into the groove by getting some big scores. We have to all take it seriously and make the best use of it.

There is room for improvement in the fielding department. We have been working with a fielding coach in Julian Fountain and we need to do even more work with him. That is one area where we need to make a bit improvement. The guys have been working hard with Julian and we need to keep doing it over and over and eventually we will get better.

There were a few positives we can take from this Test match and one of those was the batting of Dwayne Bravo. He looked good with the bat in both Test matches so far. He has been working hard at his game over the past few weeks and has been getting some rewards and hopefully he can keep going and go on to get a couple hundreds as well.

On Tuesday we have a training day. We will be working indoors on our batting and outdoor on our fitness and fielding. We will be doing a lot of batting work with bowling machines in order for us to move forward and get better as a team.

Injury Strikes Again - Ramnaresh Sarwan

They say that lightning does not strike in the same place twice but injury has struck in my direction three times in the past seven months. First it was my instep in Pakistan, then my finger in Guyana and now my shoulder in England.

As you probably know by now I had an awkward and nasty fall during the third session of the first day's play at Headingley while chasing a ball down to the boundary. I have injured my right acromioclavicular joint (otherwise known as the AC joint) and had to undergo scans to determine the extent of the injury. The results are still being analyzed and I was unable to bat in the first innings and will only bat if absolutely necessary in the second innings.

My right hand has been in a sling since the injury with limited movement thus far and I have been feeling discomfort and some pain. Any injury can be frustrating, but one after the other can be especially frustrating.

Sleeping last night was very difficult not only because of the injury but also because of how we performed on the field letting England score freely again.

Tonight is likely to be more of the same since we did not do very well in the first innings and are now following on.

No decision has been taken about my availability for the rest of the series. That decision will be taken at the end of this Test match.

This performance so far has been disappointing to all of us. We played relatively well at Lord's in the first Test and then came here and performed badly especially with the bat. Having said that I have a lot of confidence in the guys to pull out something very special tomorrow and onwards.

I think we did not analyze the conditions at Headingley well enough. The conditions were certainly more conducive to seam bowling when England bowled.

In the second innings it is important that we try and achieve the small goals we've set ourselves by achieving partnerships and when individuals get starts they need to on and get big scores. If we can do that we will certainly make England bat again.

We Have A Point To Prove - Denesh Ramdin

During the first Test against England one of my dreams came through. I have watched the greats of the game playing at Lords and I too dreamt of being a part of that as well. It was a dream come through playing international cricket at Lords against England.

The atmosphere there is perfect for cricket. I wish I could play everyday on that ground. I am happy that I got a half century but unfortunately I did not get the opportunity to get my name on the famous centuries board in the visitor's dressing room. That was one of my goals for that game but I'm happy with the way I batted overall. My emphasis was on putting the team first rather than myself in order to ensure that we were in a much more controlled position in the Test match.

I think we played good cricket throughout the Test match but there are areas we need to work on as we prepare for the second Test match at Headingley. We need to bowl more wicket taking deliveries, our fielding needs to sharpen up and one of our top three batters will have to try hard to go on and get a big score. I was personally a bit disappointed with the way things went on the final day because we were going to challenge ourselves to get 401 on that pitch and start a series off 1-0 in our favour but it was not to be.

I do think that we have the players in our team who are good enough to go out there and give an even better show in the second Test match.

Each of us wants to go out there and perform 100% and prove a point. That point is that we are not the way some people perceive us. It would seem as though other teams think we are down and out and that we are the team everyone wants to take advantage of. Of course also with Brian's (Lara) retirement people seem to think that we cannot consistently score over 300 runs. We have to prove them wrong.

The guys have been putting in a lot of work in the net sessions and we are gelling even more.

On a personal note I am quite enjoying my stay over here so far. Talking to other current and former international wicketkeepers such as Adam Gilchrist, Mark Boucher and Ian Healy, who have all played in England before, they have said to me that this is the hardest place they ever kept wicket in their life.

It is mainly because the ball does swing late and does a lot off the seam as well before it reaches the bastman but it also moves a lot after it passes the bat. While I knew that before coming here, experiencing it is something different. I am now properly aware of the conditions here and what can happen as a result. The ball does swing and wobble after it passes the bat and as you saw in the first Test it was hitting my gloves sometimes and falling out.

After reviewing my performance in the first Test I have realized that there are a few minor adjustments I need to make for the rest of the trip here. One of the basic things I need to address are keeping my eyes on the ball longer and watch it carefully all the way into the gloves.

It was my first time playing under Ramnaresh Sarwan as captain and he gave me a lot of self belief. He also had a lot of positive words and he encouraged me to work hard and do the basics well. He also spoke to me about how important I am to the batting line up batting at number 8 for the team.

Overall I am happy with the team performance thus far. The support on and off the field has been excellent. Every time someone goes out to bat everyone was on the balcony looking on and supporting. If someone did not do well at any stage they continued to get the support of everyone in the dressing room. Even the guys who were not playing were always on the boundary supporting us and cheering us on from the sidelines.

We Know Where We Stand - Chris Gayle

It was a long hard five days during this first Test match at Lord's. It was a pretty good game overall. I'm happy with the way we all played according to our plans. Hopefully we can move on from this Test match and capitalize on the good effort in the second Test starting on Friday.

There were a lot of positives in this game. I think the bowlers fought hard on what was a flat track. I have to give credit to them for their hard work.

I was also impressed with the way (Ramnaresh) Sarwan captained the team on debut as captain. It was really good. He did really well in pulling the guys together which was very pleasing to see.

In the batting department the likes of Shiv (Chanderpaul), Dwayne (Bravo) and Denesh (Ramdin) getting half centuries and Daren (Ganga) just missing out on one. Those were all good signs. Those little things are good for us as a team.

In the second innings Daren and I batted through to the end without losing a wicket which as another positive.

On the last day the weather intervened and we obviously have no control over that. It is out of our hands so we had to settle for a draw. We were always going into the final day being positive and we had that in mind to chase down the runs. 395 from 98 overs was gettable in a day though it was not going to be easy.

I am not being overconfident but I am sure the guys are now looking forward to the next game at Headingley.

Before the second Test we have to go back to the drawing board and try to see where we went wrong in the first Test and try to improve in those areas. This can be a turnaround and things can be in our favour.

I must commend everyone in the team on how we supported each other throughout. The vibes in the camp is really good. Everyone is really enjoying themselves on the field and off the field as well. I hope this can continue and we can lead West Indies cricket into the future.

The talk around before this Test match was that we are underdogs and so forth. Most people seem to be expecting us to be rolled over by England and expecting the game to be finished in three or four days. We use those comments as motivation.

People can talk bad and say how they feel but we know our capabilities. We know our limits and we know what we can offer to the game. There will always be people who doubt us and we cannot stop that but we know there will always be people who support us as well and we know where we stand and what our objectives are and that this can be the turnaround for West Indies cricket.

I Was A Bit Nervous - Ramnaresh Sarwan

Walking out at Lord's on Thursday morning as West Indies captain was a proud and humbling moment for me. It was an honour. It was even doubly special because it was at Lord's, the universally agreed home of cricket. I must confess that as play got started I was a bit nervous for the first two overs. It did feel somewhat strange. However by the third over I was fine.

After I won the toss and chose to field first I thought we bowled too straight in the first session. After lunch though, we came back really well. Credit must be given to the bowlers who did a fantastic job after an ordinary start.

In the evening session we continued to do well, sticking to our plans. I believe we needed two more wickets by the end of the first day's play. If England had lost five wickets at the end of day one the game would have been in our favour. However they lost three and I believe that that meant that the game was balanced. Having to go on and off the field because of the bad weather was a bit frustrating but it worked in our favour somewhat as it gave our bowlers a chance to recover and return fresh.

Our overall plan was to try to grab two wickets on the morning because we knew it was going to be difficult early up for the batsmen. The bowlers created the chances but we were unable to finish the job and spilled a couple of catches. I thought Daren Powell and Jerome Taylor bowled exceptionally in the first session. Unfortunately after lunch we took the new ball and we were not able to bowl the consistent line that was required for success. It was a repeat of what transpired in the first session of the first day. Proper use of the new ball is clearly an area we will need to work on.

The English batsmen batted very well. When they were faced with testing periods they fought through it however I thought the debutant wicketkeeper Matthew Prior was outstanding. When he came in to bat it was well set up for his style of play with the score being 363 for 5. He was afforded the chance to be positive and play his natural game. He is a player who is always looking to score and players such as those are dangerous and that was clear today with him scoring 126 from 128 balls.

However what is gone is gone and it's important that we do not let our heads drop tomorrow if we have to bowl. We must contain them from the outset.

When we bat we need to be positive. Time is going to play a vital part in the rest of this game and we must recognize that and bat time. It would obviously be very difficult to come back from this stage and win the game outright but we are in a situation where we can firstly work towards a draw. If we can achieve that it would be a good start to the tour.

That being said we must first be positive as after all this is the game of glorious uncertainties.

I'm Up To The Challenge - Chris Gayle

This is my first diary on tour and I am happy to be doing it again. On our arrival in England it's been a sticky and wet summer. Having said that we played the first game, a warm up game against Somerset at Taunton. Unfortunately we didn't get much cricket in, we only got a little more than half day in and a few of the guys got hits and got a feel of what it is like in the middle. This was obviously due to the very rainy weather. Runako (Morton) scored a hundred which is the first hundred on tour which is very good. The ever reliable Shivnarine Chanderpaul also got in a good knock with a half century.

I am just a bit disappointed that we didn't get as much cricket as we had wanted to due to the weather. However we have no control over the weather. We have had to practice mainly by using the indoor facilities and that has been what we have been doing. Today was the first time we got a hit in outdoor practice, the guys finally got to do a lot of running around outside and get acclimatized.

In terms of preparation it is not what we would have ideally loved to achieve going into the first Test however we are capable of getting the job done and we are certainly looking forward to first Test.

We have to focus on the cricket and getting the job done against England by rallying around each other. From a personal point of view I was here for the last tour in 2004 and from what I have observed it is a totally different adjustment I have to make on this occasion leading into the first Test. There is going to be a lot of overcast conditions but I'm up to the challenge. Hopefully Daren Ganga and I will give the team a good start.

I am also looking forward to see Ramnaresh Sarwan do well at his first time as captain. Hopefully things will go well for him and the team and he gets a good start on the first day and we can take it from there.

The guys have all been in good spirits. Everybody is rallying around each other and working together. We will see how the first Test goes. Basically that's it for this entry until my next entry next week.

I Want To Improve - Denesh Ramdin

It is a pleasure to continue writing these diaries. I sincerely hope that I have many good things to write about during the series.

This is my first tour to England with senior team and am looking forward to what will be a tough series. A lot has been said by just about everyone about the English conditions but I think I am capable of coping with whatever comes our way. It is just for me to work hard and focus on the basic things with my batting and wicketkeeping.

I'm looking forward to doing well on this tour and particularly to get some runs behind my name to help the team put a competitive total on the board.

Quite a few of the senior players have been giving me a lot of tips on how to approach certain situations when batting and particularly on how to build an innings and establish partnerships. On this tour I have set out to try to get as much information as possible with both batting and wicketkeeping so that I can improve and be successful for the team and myself but obviously I always want to put the team first.

All of the guys have been working really hard for the past couple of days even though most of it has been indoors with the persistent rain here in Taunton. Despite the limited playing time outdoors we are still keen and we are looking forward to the first Test at Lord's.

We are obviously disappointed that we did not get much actual cricket in against Somerset. With such a short time to prepare we needed to spend a lot more time in the middle. Unfortunately some of the guys did not get as long a hit as they had wanted. However I think they are good enough to come good on match day in the first Test.

I have to compliment Runako Morton and Shiv Chanderpaul on the way they played. We were in trouble at 44 for 4 and they dug us out of that hole with sensible batting. Runako played aggressively but intelligently while Shiv made sure he stayed at the crease. I think Shiv, with his experience, went out there and batted for the team and as he guided Runako through the period where we needed both of them to bat out the day and build a substantial partnership. Congratulations again to them and I hope that they can carry on throughout the tour.

In terms of the weather I was expecting it to be less cold than it is at the moment but as everyone knows the English weather can change quickly and dramatically so you never know what the weather is like when you get up on any day.

I also have to mention how excellent the facilities here are and how well the Somerset folks have looked after us. They did everything to ensure that despite the poor weather we were able to train indoors and utilize the time meaningfully rather than just sitting around in the dressing room. A special thank you to Somerset County Cricket Club for their lovely hospitality.