Rather surprised by West Indies’ domination on day five of the rain hit Test at Kingston, Jamaica, India will be keen to stage a fightback when the third Test begins at Gros Islet on Tuesday. India’s bowling in the second innings was big let down as Roston Chase smashed a memorable 137 to lead the West Indians on the last day, and cap off a brilliant match in which he had earlier taken five wickets. The likes of Shane Dowrich, Jermaine Blackwood and skipper Jason Holder also shone with the bat, and the Indian bowling was clearly found out in the wake of the resoluteness.
India, however, still have the 1-0 lead, and will believe they can get the better of the hosts when the third Test begins on Tuesday at the Darren Sammy Stadium. The pitch at Gros Islet is good for batting, as evident from the fact that three of the four Tests played at this ground have ended in a draw. Thus, there is all the more reason for India to continue playing five bowlers. But, they should be extremely worried with the fact that they couldn’t take six wickets on a last day pitch at Jamaica. Surely, they will look at their bowling combination.
Leg spinner Amit Mishra will be under pressure following his poor effort in the second Test. He just could not make any impact on the West Indian batsmen as they played him with ease. Even further, he could not keep things tight, and kept straying in line and length, allowing the batsmen to ease out the pressure. There is a chance then that India may go in with Ravindra Jadeja instead of Mishra. The left-arm spinner has the ability to bowl tighter lines, and can also bat well lower down the order. Alternately, Umesh Yadav could be dropped, and India could go in with three spinners.
In the batting, the fitness of Murali Vijay will be a definite concern. In his absence, Lokesh Rahul has risen to the occasion, but away from home Vijay’s presence always makes a difference. India will also be worried over the form of Cheteshwar Pujara, who has continued to look out of sorts. But for the hundred in Sri Lanka, he just hasn’t looked the part over the last couple of seasons. Ajinkya Rahane made his now mandatory century at Jamaica, so India should be pleased that he has continued to flourish.
West Indies, on the other hand, will hope to continue from where they left off at Jamaica on Day five. They have made one significant change, with Shai Hope being recalled in place of the struggling Rajendra Chandrika. They would want runs from both Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite. Ditto with Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo. The performance of Blackwood, Chase and Dowrich in the previous match will definitely have given them confidence. The bowling is still a worry though, and this is where India could hurt the West Indians very badly.
--By A Cricket Analyst