KINGSTON (AFP) - West Indies have promised to make life tough for England when the sides start a four-Test series on Wednesday at Sabina Park. England will start the series as the big favourites, having not lost a Test series to the Caribbean side in the last 15 years. That remarkable statistic takes on fuller significance by the fact England have won the last five series convincingly, racking up an amazing 16 wins out of the 24 Tests the two sides have played during the period. Such has been England's manhandling of West Indies that an innings and 93-run victory nine years ago at Birmingham was the last time the home team won a Test against the visitors either at home or away. This year, West Indies host Andrew Strauss's visitors on the back of an encouraging year which ended with a drawn Test series in New Zealand. And that result has led head coach John Dyson to believe the time is ripe for a West Indies change of fortunes, beginning with a "competitive" series against England. "The team can take a lot out of the New Zealand series," said Dyson. "We played hard and we had a very good team spirit. We are really looking forward to this series against England. "There are no easy teams around in World cricket. All series are going to be hard, but as always, if our guys play as well as I know we can, they can come out of the series looking pretty good. I believe the series will be very competitive." Nevertheless, the form book backs England to come out on top. England have fond memories of the corresponding Test five years ago, when a superb spell of fast bowling from Steve Harmison saw West Indies crumble for their lowest total ever in a Test of 47 and provided the springboard for a memorable 10-wicket victory. The result gave England a jump-start and they duly broke their dry spell in the Caribbean which had lasted for 36 years. They are hoping that they can achieve a similar, if not identical result to give them an early boost of confidence. England however, are sweating a little over Andrew Flintoff. One of only two remaining players from the Test five years ago, a side strain ruled him out of the tour match against West Indies-A which was the final practice match before the Test. "We're cautiously optimistic at the moment," said England captain Strauss. "Fred is ahead of where the medical staff wanted him, so that is really encouraging, but you can never be 100 per cent sure on these things until the day before the game. "Once the scan came back with no tear, we were always keen to play him in the first Test, but you never know how these things will react, and how stiff and sore he is going to be. "So far he looks as though as he has come through it well and we will see how he goes in the two practice days before the Test." Strauss also has some concern about his main strike bowler Harmison. He has fond memories of his Test-best seven wickets for 12 runs, and would relish a chance of proving himself on a pitch that is likely to give him and all the faster bowlers generous assistance. "We all know that the more Harmy bowls, the more rhythm he gets into and the quicker he gets it through as well," Strauss said. "I think he got better and better each spell he bowled (in two warm-up matches), and he has definitely got his name in the hat. It was difficult to tell much from this last pitch, but his areas were good and his pace increased throughout." Dyson meanwhile expects the conditions in the Caribbean to favour his side. "We are playing at home, in our own territory," he said. "We know the conditions very well, and we're happy to play again in the sunshine, and we are far happier with the weather here. "Right now, it's a matter of putting the final preparations in place for the first Test. We are looking for major contributions from all the players. I expect a good, hard series and I expect us to do very well." Recent history indicates that Sabina Park will produce a result. The last 10 Tests have all ended in victory, but West Indies will be distraught to learn that they have been on the wrong side of four of the last five. Squads: West Indies (from): Chris Gayle (captain), Lionel Baker, Sulieman Benn, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Fidel Edwards, Amit Jaggernauth, Xavier Marshall, Brendan Nash, Daren Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Dale Richards, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Devon Smith, Jerome Taylor. England (from): Andrew Strauss (captain), Alastair Cook (vice captain), Tim Ambrose, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Adil Rashid, Owais Shah, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann. Umpires: Rudi Koertzen, Asoka De Silva TV Replays: Daryl Harper Reserve: Norman Malcolm. Match referee: Alan Hurst.