West Indies got off to a brilliant start in their Test series against Sri Lanka last week and they head to St Lucia not only with a 1-0 lead but knowing if they win the second Test, which begins on Thursday, they will win the series with a match to spare.
Sri Lanka were thoroughly beaten in Trinidad and know they need a marked improvement just to be competitive in this match let alone keep the series alive or even force a decider in Barbados later in the month.
You couldn’t call it a perfect performance from the Windies in the first match but it was one which was more than good enough, and if they can repeat it in this game they are going to take a lot of beating. I was so impressed with their patience with the bat and then their discipline with the ball was very encouraging.
You could say that history is against West Indies in this match as you have to go back almost four years for the last time they won successive Test matches. That should act as a motivation for this group of players though. The key for them is to maintain their performance levels from the first match and then they will be fine.
It is never a good thing for a team when they have massive issues with the bat and with the ball going into a second match of a three game series. The usual thing that happens from here is they panic with team selection, marginally improve one facet of their game, but completely ruin the other and that is a big concern.
To be fair it might need a complete ripping up and starting again from that first match but you would like to think the players are as shell-shocked by their performance as those of us watching were. They lacked ability more than anything with the bat and just could not build enough pressure when they had the ball in hand. Not an ideal combination.
If they want to build some consistency and continuity in their results then unless there is a late injury or something unforeseen at the last minute West Indies should be unchanged for this match. Devon Smith could be vulnerable if changes are made.
Sri Lanka will be forced into at least two changes although we are likely to see more from them. Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Gamage have been ruled out of the rest of the tour. Dhananjaya de Silva and Akila Dananjaya are expected to come into the side.
I’ll go with a couple of bets in this match. The first one is for West Indies to lead after the first innings. There is no hidden message in this bet really. I just think they bat so much deeper than Sri Lanka and ultimately that will prove the difference. I’m expecting a bit of fire in the wicket which certainly won’t hurt the West Indies either. They would have the advantage with the bat and the ball if that is the case so the 10/11 they lead at half time looks plenty good enough to me.
I took the performance of Roston Chase in the first match and he covered his line easily. It has improved by 10pts to 115.5 here but that is not putting me off any. We saw in Trinidad that he can score genuinely in three ways. He didn’t actually have his best game with the bat there so if he sorts his batting form out he can sail beyond this total once again.
WON – Back West Indies 1st Inns Lead for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with Boylesports
Back them here:
Back R.Chase’s Performance – Over 115.5pts for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365