The first Test between West Indies and India was something of a damp squib in Dominica last week and now the two sides head to Trinidad to conclude the series with the home side hoping to put up a much better showing.
India won’t care that there was such a lack of competitiveness in that opening game as they were able to come out on top in it and they will be looking for a repeat here as they look to get their latest quest for the World Test Championship off to a positive start.
It goes without saying that West Indies are going to need to offer a whole lot more than they did in that opening game if they are to have any chance of rescuing anything from the series. In recent times there has been the argument that the Caribbean men would consider anything they got from a Test series as a bonus ahead of limited overs matches to come but their form with the white ball is beginning to mirror that of the red ball.
I think it is fair to say that there is a gulf between these two sides but that doesn’t mean that West Indies can’t show a bit of fight and dig in a bit and at least try and make it difficult for India. There was none of that in the opening game and that might be the biggest disappointment. Conditions in Trinidad should bring West Indies a little more into the game but they need to find a way to get a platform built with the bat to have any chance.
I would imagine India will be looking for exactly the same again as they go about securing a 2-0 win in the series which was probably always likely to be the end result once this series was scheduled. Although the pool of resources India have to pick from is a lot richer than that of their hosts for this series, added to the fact that their red ball form has been much stronger in the last decade or so, I would imagine the tourists would have been surprised just how easy they had it in that opening match.
I’m not a believer that a match can be too easy but it will be interesting to see what India come up with if they are tested a little more in this contest but they look a mile ahead of their opponents with the ball in hand and these are no longer the firm and fast conditions which would trouble their batters. You sense the only danger to India in this match could come from their own complacency so they need to ensure that doesn’t creep in.
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West Indies could give a debut to Kirk McKenzie in this match as they look to find something resembling a competitive batting order. Rakheem Cornwall has been struggling with a chest infection and Kevin Sinclair is on standby in case he doesn’t recover.
India were so convincing in the opening match that it would be a surprise were they to make any changes to their side for this match. Were they to make a change it might be to give Mohammed Siraj a rest with him most likely to play all formats this year.
There isn’t a huge amount that I like in this match because I’m expecting another largely uncompetitive match but there should be a little more pace and bounce in the surface here and that can lead to a very tiny sixes line being covered. It doesn’t really matter what the conditions are or who they are playing West Indies players naturally look to hit the ball over the ropes and with timing the ball a little easier here and the ground being fairly small they should be able to do that.
There might well come a time in this match with a bit of rain potentially around where India will look to put a bit more time back into the game and get on the turbo button themselves with the bat and with neither team lacking for players who have played white ball cricket we know that they can clear these ropes. England are beginning to change the face of Test cricket and West Indies and India will certainly have noticed that and can play their own part in carrying the baton with a few sixes here.
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