India tour of West Indies, 2nd Test: Preview and Prediction
After a thumping victory in the first Test at Antigua against West Indies, India are confident to make it 2-0 to grab the series. West Indies, on the other hand, will be looking to fight back to draw level at Sabina Park.
For the past two years, West Indies have done well on their home by not losing a series since they lost against Pakistan. The team had memorable victories in the past which is now being overshadowed by their heavy loss against India in the first Test.
West Indies has to blame their batters for their loss who were completely indecisive as mentioned by the captain Jason Holder in the interview. Their batters were indecisive of their footwork, in finding the direction of the ball and most importantly, their shot selection. They weren't sure of whether to hit or leave the ball in whereas, a few wickets were the gift for some great bowling by the Indians. The late movement in the pitch was troubling them, especially, in the second innings where Jasprit Bumrah was all over the West Indies batting line-up.
Now, what should West Indies do?
As Jason Holder said, the batters must stay out there as long as possible to make the Indian bowlers bend their back for wickets and tire them as much as possible and to make them bowl the fourth and fifth spell under the hot Jamaican sun.
They can very well take the inspiration from Roston Chase's heroics in 2016 at the same venue where he went on to score an unbeaten ton after picking up a fifer to draw the Test against India.
Of course, the West Indies pacers were doing wonders with the ball to dismiss the Indian batters at the regular intervals. The pack led by Kemar Roach will definitely have their say with the ball to trouble the Indian batters.
India, on the other hand, had a safe ride to victory on the back of Rahane who notched up his first ton in two years. The sigh of relief was evident on the face of Indian vice-captain who will be keen to get into the action once again and pile up the runs.
A lot was expected from India's new wall, Cheteshwar Pujara, in the first Test but he couldn't live up to the expectations. Considering the conditions in Jamaica, this is the kind of pitch that excites him. This Test is equally important for KL Rahul to convert the good starts he's able to get.
Pitch and Weather
The pitch has a hint of green which definitely will excite the pacers. The sun surely will have a part to play as it might dry up the pitch and produce cracks.
The batting is going to get tougher as long as the sun is out there, but luckily, the weather forecast also shows scattered rainfalls throughout the Test match. This can help the players to save themselves from the hot sun even though there might be a loss of overs.
The batting out here will require the batters to play with a great bottom hand technique.
West Indies Team
West Indies will be happy to have Keemo Paul back into the team in place of Miguel Cummins who was pretty ordinary in the first Test. Also, it will be interesting to see if Holder drops Brooks for his performance. Though it is unfair for him, Holder might go in with the sensational Rahkeem Cornwall.
Indian team faces the Ravichandran Ashwin question. While Ashwin had a fifer in the 2016 Sabina Park Test, he went for a lot in the other innings. His county stint and his form in 2018, however, is commendable. The all-rounder has two tons against the West Indies. During the practice session, however, Ravindra Jadeja batted and bowled and Ashwin was missing from the session.
India might think of going in with both Ashwin and Jadeja by dropping Shami but the conditions, the cracks might tempt the team to stick with Shami. Rohit Sharma might also warm the bench this time as well.
30-8-2018 was the first time Virat Kohli opted to play with the same playing XI in a Test Match, and the history might repeat itself exactly after a year.
Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami.
Jason Holder (c), Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Shimron Hetmeyer, Shannon Gabriel, Keemo Paul, Kemar Roach.
Players to watch out for
C Pujara: This pitch is similar to that of the one on which Dravid scored twin tons. The conditions suit him as well and it will be exciting to see if Pujara scores big.
R Chase: Chase will be the key for West Indies when it comes to batting as well as bowling.
Convincing win for the visitors unless there are some heroics from any of the West Indies batsmen.