Stuart Law    Getty Images
Stuart Law Getty Images

Stuart Law has urged the West Indies to ignore their critics and follow Jermaine Blackwood’s example as they look to bounce back in the second Test against England at Headingley. Friday’s match comes less than a week since West Indies coach Law saw his side suffer a crushing innings and 209-run defeat in the series opener at Edgbaston as the inaugural day-night Test in England ended inside three days. That led West Indies fast-bowling great Curtly Ambrose to label the current side “pathetic”. Law was saddened that Ambrose, until recently the West Indies’ bowling coach, had vented his criticism in a British newspaper rather than directly to the players.”Curtly not long ago was the coach of this team so it is disappointing that criticism comes,” said Law.

“We have to understand why it is there. We are not performing as well as we want. What can we do? We have to get our noses down, our backsides up and play better. I believe in these young men. They have got high skills. It is just the experience of learning how to play in a very tough environment.”West Indies arrived in England without a several senior players, the consequence of a bitter dispute with their own board and a clash with the lucrative Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 tournament, although relations are improving to the extent that Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels have been selected for the subsequent one-day series in England. Meanwhile, Law was encouraged by diminutive batsman Blackwood, whose 79 not out in the first innings at Edgbaston was a rare West Indies highlight of a closing Saturday in Birmingham where they lost 19 wickets in total.

“He showed a beautiful solid defence and hit the bad ball away, we can’t ask much more,” Law said.”He is only 5ft 2in but he walks around like he is 10 foot tall and that is the sort of attitude that really warms my heart,” the former Australia batsman added.”Hopefully it is infectious in the group.”Law indicated he would give the XI that played at Edgbaston a chance to redeem themselves, even though fast bowler Shannon Gabriel is now fit for selection.

England too are set to be unchanged after a Test match where Alastair Cook’s double century and a hundred from captain Joe Root established a commanding position cemented by new-ball duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad. But Jonny Bairstow, the wicketkeeper-batsman, insisted there was no danger of complacency setting in at his Yorkshire home ground as England sought a fourth consecutive Test match win after a 3-1 home series success against South Africa completed with back-to-back victories at The Oval and Old Trafford.

“We’ll go about it in the same way that we’ve gone about the South Africa series and the first Test,” he said.”It’s not about putting on a show it’s about getting a result.”Bairstow, who made 140 against Sri Lanka in last year’s Test at Headingley, said conditions in Leeds would help ensure England, captained by Yorkshire team-mate Root, did not get ahead of themselves.”If you get through those difficult periods if it’s a bit cloudy and it’s nipping or swinging then it’s a fantastic place to bat. But if you don’t respect the conditions, then it can be difficult,” the 27-year-old added.

Bairstow also forecast a much-improved showing from Law’s men.”We’re expecting the West Indies to come back at us pretty hard after Edgbaston,” he said.”We know that if we play a few false shots, if we don t put the ball in the right area, they ve got enough destructive players like we saw with Blackwood at Edgbaston.”