West Indies would relish the prospect of holding the world’s No.1 team to a series draw, but for that, their batsmen need to come good big time.
Another batting collapse, another defeat. Whether in limited-overs colours or in Test cricket, West Indies’ batsmen have let the team down more often than they’d like to admit. It has undone a lot of the good work of a resurgent pace unit and been responsible for some inexplicable defeats. If West Indies are to bounce back and level the series, the mandate is simple, really: step up and put some runs on the board.
India are coming off their largest overseas victory in terms of runs. They have arguably their most well-rounded Test attack of all time, so their bowlers’ brilliance in the series opener is something that has come to be expected of this outfit. What will perhaps please them the most is the return to form of Ajinkya Rahane, who scored 183 runs in the game, and middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari vindicating team management’s faith with his second-innings 93.
These are still early days in the World Test Championship, but India, the No.1-ranked team on the MRF Tyres ICC Rankings, are already on top of the championship table. Another win would solidify that position.
Jason Holder, West Indies captain: “We’ve been looking for solutions for a little while. Each batter’s just got to look at themselves seriously in the mirror, and we’ve just got to find solutions.”
Virat Kohli, India captain: “For us it is about managing the best combination we can as a side, and feeling settled about it. We all have a discussion on that particular thing, and we go ahead with what is the best thing for the team. There will always be opinions on a team selected, but we all understand that whatever decisions are taken are in the best interest of the team.”
The weather appears to be clear for the most part. The average first-innings score at Sabina Park in the five most recent games has been around 350, but the pitch will become slow and start to take turn as it wears down.