LONDON: West Indies face England in the first of a three-Test series at Lord's here today with the tourists' batting likely to determine the course of the match.
Should conditions prove as seam friendly as they have for much of the early part of the English season, West Indies' top order could struggle to provide the kind of platform that will help improve on a record of just two wins in 30 Tests since beating England in Jamaica in 2009.
Kieran Powell made his second first-class hundred in West Indies' 10-wicket defeat by the England Lions at Northampton last week, a match where number four Darren Bravo made two fifties.
However, Powell's opening partner Adrian Barath and Kirk Edwards managed just 26 runs between them at Northampton, having only compiled 16 and eight respectively in the near washout against Sussex at Hove.
Much could depend on world number one batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who has performed many a rescue mission for the West Indies during a career that last month saw him become only the 10th batsman to score 10,000 Test runs.
However, the 37-year-old Guyanese left-hander generally prefers to bat no higher than five in the order.
The problem with that, from the West Indies' point of view, is that too often Chanderpaul comes in with the team already in trouble.
There has been talk of promoting Chanderpaul up the order but it appears he is set to stay put - at least for the time being.
West Indies will be without aggressive opening batsman Chris Gayle because of his Indian Premier League commitments and the fact the former captain's lengthy stand-off with the West Indies Cricket Board only recently came to an end.
But Gibson backed his younger batsmen to come good, saying: "We know it's going to be a challenge for them - but the selectors have got a lot of confidence in them, as I have."
Before taking up his current post, Gibson was England's bowling coach and so helped the likes of home duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
But the tourists, whose three three leading pacemen - Kemar Roach (ankle), Fidel Edwards (back) and Ravi Rampaul (stiff neck) - have all overcome minor injury concerns, boast some firepower of their own.
England will be keen to make a commanding start after seeing their status as the world's number one Test side diminished somewhat during a recent 3-0 defeat by Pakistan in the UAE and a 1-1 draw in Sri Lanka.
"I don't think we need to prove anything," said Matt Prior, the England wicketkeeper. "We've played good cricket over a number of years now.
"After the glitches in the winter, I know everyone is very keen and pumped up to perform from the off this summer."