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West Indies seek to salvage pride

Written by: Staff

MELBOURNE, Mar 24 (Reuters) West Indies go into the third and final test against New Zealand in Napier starting tomorrow with little to play for except their battered pride.

They have lost eight tests in a row, are 2-0 down in the three-match series and appear to have completely lost their way under the captaincy of Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

''We have one more game to play and everybody is focused on that,'' Chanderpaul told New Zealand Press Association.

''We're representing the West Indies and everyone has to be strong enough to pick themselves and want to win the next one.

''It's definitely been a tough tour, and even tougher when you're losing. We have a young team and these guys are developing so that's a good sign for us.'' West Indies seamers Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor are expected to shake off niggling injuries in time to play, while leading batsman Brian Lara will be desperate to improve on a run of just seven runs in his last four test innings.

CLEAN SWEEP New Zealand, in contrast, are in bullish mood as they try to complete a clean sweep in a three-match series for the first time.

They welcome back fast bowler Shane Bond from injury and captain Stephen Fleming is confident of a sixth successive test win on a wicket that may assist the seamers after heavy recent rainfall.

''It's a good pitch here, and in some ways a bit of moisture might speed up the game,'' said Fleming, who will lead his country for the 75th time in tests.

''Some players are very focused on making sure they perform in this game to cement their place, as we all are.

''From a captaincy point of view it's another opportunity to win a test match or do well and win a test series 3-0, and then get on a plane to South Africa which is a great challenge.'' REUTERS AY SP1310

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