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After losing the Test series 2-1 - a margin which doesn't explain just how weakly they capitulated in the last two Tests - West Indies approach the one-day series against South Africa determined to make amends, beginning with tomorrow's second Twenty20 in Johannesburg.

However, much of their fortunes depend on Chris Gayle, the captain, whose availability is still uncertain following the broken thumb which ruled him out of the third Test. Without Gayle's bravado as opener, nor his growing nous and "follow me" style of leadership, West Indies lack a killer punch against a South African side overflowing with confidence and mostly injury-free.

West Indies won the first Twenty20, a rain-affected bash back in December, when Jerome Taylor took 3 for 6 to cut South Africa's total to a meagre 58 for 8. Playing in that game (and conceding 19 from his two overs) was Shaun Pollock who announced his retirement from international cricket during the final Test in Durban, and he looks certain to play in all six matches for one final hurrah.

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