India are set to take on West Indies in the 4th and final match of their ongoing test series. The visitors have dominated proceedings, in spite of occasional displays of gut and perseverance from the hosts. Here are 5 things to look forward to from the 4th match of the India vs West Indies series.
1) Ashwin on the verge of world record
Ravi Ashwin could become the fastest bowler to 200 test match wickets, in the history of the game. Yes, you read it right. An Indian bowler can go on to hold a world record which hasn’t been challenged in decades.
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The current record is held by former Australian leg spinner, Clarrie Grimmett. Grimmett, a contemporary of Sir Donald Bradman, reached 200 wickets in 36 matches. His career, stretched from 1925 to 1936 and he achieved the milestone in February 1936.
Ashwin currently has 192 wickets from 35 test matches. In order to equal the record, he needs to pick up at least 8 wickets from the next match. Which, given his form of late, is very much within the realms of possibility.
Thus, Ashwin could equal a world record, which has stood for 80 years.
2) Vijay to make a comeback?
India have a lot to ponder over team combination. While, one might argue that it is better not to tinker with a winning combination, at the same time it makes little to no sense to leave out one of your best players.
Such is the case with Murali Vijay. Vijay has, arguably, been India’s best batsman, in the long format, over the last 3 years. He has scored plenty of runs at home, as well as overseas.
He picked up an injury in the first test match of the series. With his replacement, K L Rahul, scoring a century, Vijay was left out of the 3rd match, in spite of having made a full recovery.
This left critics and fans puzzled, as a fit Vijay is a huge asset to team India. Moreover, the other opener, Shikhar Dhawan, has always been rather inconsistent. This is in stark contrast to Vijay, who has always looked assured at the wicket.
After another ordinary performance by Dhawan (he scored 1 and 26), it remains to be seen if the team management persists with the left hander. Vijay, meanwhile, will be itching to prove his worth.
3) Can West Indies pose a fightback?
In the first test match, in Antigua, West Indies were overwhelmed by an emphatic performance from the visitors. They put in an amateurish performance and were outplayed in every department as India romped to an innings victory.
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The second match seemed to be heading along similar lines, until the final day. West Indies were 4 wickets down in their second innings, still 256 runs in arrears. India were expected to walk to another victory.
However, Roston Chase stepped up with an unbeaten century to go with his 5 wicket haul, earlier in the match. He had able support from Shane Dowrich and Jason Holder. The trio put in a thorough professional appearance and save the match.
On the first day of the third test match, West Indies once again, posed a fight. India were reduced to 5 wickets down for only 126. However, things went downhill from there, for the hosts.
It remains to be seen which West Indies turn up for the final match. The happy go lucky amateurs or the seasoned professionals.
4) India to retain number one ranking?
Even though India have secured the series they are not expected to rest on their laurels. That much was reaffirmed by Ajinkya Rahane, stated that they wanted to dominate the Windies. Moreover, the match holds significance, due to the precarious nature of the test match rankings.
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Australia have conceded the No. 1 Test ranking to India after losing all three Tests on their tour of Sri Lanka. India’s joy however, could be short-lived as Pakistan are hot on their heels. Pakistan are currently second in the test match rankings with 111 points, just one behind India.
Should India fail to win, they will be dethroned by Pakistan as the new number one. Surrendering the ranking is bad enough. That too to your fiercest rivals? Expect India to come out all guns blazing.
5) Kohli to hit top form
Virat Kohli started the series in sumptuous fashion with a double century. He followed that up with a 44 in the second test.
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Rohit’s inclusion in the 3rd match meant Kohli had to bat at one down. Whether that affected his style or not is unclear. However, Kohli managed successive single digit scores.
The India captain is too proud a player to repeat his failures. He will be especially motivated to get back among the runs. It remains to be seen whether he can regain his form.