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West Indies vs India: 3rd Test Match Preview

Sitam Chaki

Ball tampering charges against Indian Test captain Virat Kohli by a British tabloid do not hold much ground as per the specific clauses in the ICC''s Rules & Regulations about playing conditions.

India will look to get back to winning ways when they take on West Indies in the third test match of the India-West Indies series. West Indies vs India came alive in the 2nd test thanks to an inspiring performance from Jonathan Chase

Earlier in the series

West Indies shocked all and sundry by hanging on to draw the previous match. All had seemed lost when India had gained a 300 run lead over the hosts, with a day and half of play still remaining. Things had gone from bad to worse when the Indian bowlers had reduced them to 48 for 4 in less than 16 overs.

It had looked a matter of when, not if, India would wrap up the match. Roston Chase however had other ideas. The Barbados all-rounder, playing only his second test match, defied India for an entire day to score an unbeaten match saving century. Earlier he had picked up 5 Indian wickets.

Roston Chase stood between India and victory;
Roston Chase stood between India and victory;

Thus, Chase became only the 4th West Indian after Denis Atkinson, Collie Smith and Sir Garfield Sobers to score a century and take 5 wickets in an innings, in the same test match. That and some overs lost due to rain allowed West Indies to draw the match.

The visitors still hold a 1-0 lead in the series and would be keen to press home their advantage. In spite of West Indies’ fightback in the previous match, India have undoubtedly been the better team.

Their batsmen have scored heavily, while the bowlers led by Ashwin and Shami have proved lethal. Captain, Virat Kohli, will be keen to wrap up the series. It would be Kohli’s second overseas series win as captain, and third overall.

Form Guide (most recent first)

West Indies’ last 5 test matches have been the 2 against India (in this series), and the 3 test match series in Australia last winter. They have lost 3 of those matches. The other two, including the previous match, have been rain affected draws.

West Indies: DLDLL

India’s recent form is exactly the opposite. They have won all but 2 of their last 5 matches. The remaining 2 were rain affected draws, where India would likely have won (although this is subject to conjecture).

India: DWWWD

Pitch and conditions

The match is going to be held at the Darren Sammy stadium, ST. Lucia. Only four Tests have been played at this ground, since the inaugural Test in 2003. India have experienced the playing conditions previously on the 2006 tour, and that game ended in a draw.

Ravichandran Ashwin has picked up 13 wickets so far;
Ravichandran Ashwin has picked up 13 wickets so far;

In fact, three of the four Tests have ended without a result, with West Indies beating Bangladesh by 296 runs in 2014. Unlike the Sabina Park pitch, the wicket laid out here has a brownish hue to it, with dry grass all over the surface.

On Sunday evening, there was only a minor tinge of green, perhaps owing to the fact that the grounds men were still watering it. Any moisture though should evaporate within the first hour of play, with the sun beating down, as the pitch already looks a batting beauty in keeping with its history.

Team news

West Indies have drafted in opening batsman, Shai Hope. Hope has replaced Rajendra Chandrika in the squad. Chandrika only managed 53 runs in his 4 innings. Hope, on the other hand, scored a century for WICB Presidents’ XI against India in a tour match.

They could also replace fast bowler, Miguel Cummins, with rookie Alzarri Joseph. Cummins, himself, made his debut in the previous match. He struggled for the most part, finishing with none for 87 off 26.4 overs.

Murali Vijay is unlikely to return to action in the next match. While, he did face throwdowns at the nets, he did not face the quicker bowlers, nor did he practice slip catching. That means India’s top 5 is unlikely to change.

As for the bowlers, Amit Mishra’s disappointing performance on day 5 of the previous match could lead to him being dropped. India have a more than handy replacement in Ravindra Jadeja. While Mishra is no mug with the bat, Jadeja is definitely a better batsman.

Jadeja also has the ability to bowl super quick spell, while making the batsmen play. Alternatively, India could opt for a 3 pronged spin attack, replacing the erratic Umesh Yadav.

Expected playing XI

West Indies: Shai Hope, KC Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich (wk), Jason Holder (c), Devendra Bishoo, Miguel Cummins/ Alzarri Joseph, Shannon Gabriel

India: KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, R Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravindra Jadeja/Amit Mishra, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma

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