Friday, June 30, 2017
Start time 0900 local (1300 GMT)
India came to the Caribbean after yielding their Champions Trophy crown but they haven’t taken long to find their happy place again. They scored 300-plus in less than 50 overs in their first completed match since the defeat to Pakistan, bringing the cricket world back to the status quo.
If West Indies are to shake things up and more importantly stay alive in the series, they’ll have to find a way past India’s strongest suit: a top order that, by now, must be making runs as they sleepwalk. Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli are racking them up with such greed that their team-mates from Nos 4 might have forgotten how it feels to be out in the middle. Over the last six games, only twice has a middle-order batsman been needed to face even 40 balls. Both came in losing causes.
If this trend is to be exploited though, West Indies have to do something India have, recently, been excellent at: maximising their strength. Jason Holder has under his charge a set of bowlers who are not typically threatening, but at this level, they should at least maintain a constricting line and length for as much as the 50 overs as possible. The two uncapped players they have added to the squad – Kyle Hope and Sunil Ambris – are batsmen so clearly this is the best bowling attack they have and perhaps Antigua will bring them better luck.
West Indies LWLLL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Skill-wise, there is very little going against Devendra Bishoo. He is a wristspinner – an essential commodity in ODIs now – but his consistency remains a problem. Good batsmen almost mark him down for approximately one short ball an over and milk him without too much trouble. If Bishoo can rectify this, he could be what West Indies need – a wicket-taker.
He has always been a very good cutter of the ball, but now, when he plays the pull, and the hook, the change in Shikhar Dhawanis striking. He is no longer hurried into the shot, the swivel on the back foot is smooth, and the shot itself appears effortless – signs that he is picking the length early and trusting his technique, which he says has been calibrated to play the ball a little later and therefore a lot closer to his body. With 500 runs in his last nine innings, the adjustments are bringing rewards.
Considering West Indies dropped Kieran Powell and Jonathan Carter, who have played both ODIs of this series, and replaced them with Kyle Hope and Sunil Ambris, the two uncapped batsmen might just be looking at instant debuts.
West Indies (probable): 1 Evin Lewis, 2 Kyle Hope, 3 Shai Hope (wk), 4 Jason Mohammed, 5 Roston Chase, 6 Jason Holder (capt), 7 Rovman Powell/ Sunil Ambris, 8 Ashley Nurse, 9 Alzarri Joseph, 10 Devendra Bishoo, 11 Miguel Cummins,
India tend to avoid experimenting in ODIs, but considering the potential of Rishabh Pant, who has hit a first-class triple-hundredat nearly run-a-ball, they may make an exception.
India (probable): 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Kuldeep Yadav, 9 R Ashwin, 10 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 11 Umesh Yadav
Pitch and conditions
In 15 matches at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium in North Sound, the average run-rate batting first has been 5.05. That roughly translates to an average total of 252. And barring the odd brief shower, the weather is expected to hold up well.
Stats and trivia
- The last time West Indies won an ODI series against a top-eight team was in 2012, when they beat New Zealand 4-1. Since then, they’ve been beaten 16 times.
- India’s top-three have averaged 61.5 over the last two years. That’s 15 points higher than their nearest rivals South Africa