Following a thumping victory in Chennai, a buoyant West Indies team travel to Visakhapatnam with hopes of sealing a famous series win over India on Wednesday.
It would be an extraordinary achievement for the Caribbean team that had gone without a bilateral series win for four years to achieve two series wins away from home, in less than two months.
Virat Kohli’s team was outplayed in the first ODI. The Indian think-tank has continued to ponder over their bowling combination in the absence of Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah.
There were encouraging signs in the batting department ,despite a top-order failure at Chennai. Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer held the innings together nicely to help India post a good total after losing three early wickets.
Hetmyer and Hope return to Visakhapatnam
In October 2018, India played West Indies in an ODI at the same venue and the pulsating match ended in a tie.
It was the same pair of Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope that had tormented India in the first ODI last Sunday, that had back then brought the visitors close to victory.
The Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium at Visakhapatnam.— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) December 17, 2019
The last ODI game here was also btw #IndvWI #IndvsWI in Oct 2018.
The match ended in a tie - India 321/6 WI 321/7
The Chennai tormentors Shai Hope 123* & Shimron Hetmyer 94 put on 143 (119b) for 4th wkt!😱 pic.twitter.com/mC4NbsdXdT
Interestingly, the West Indies is the only team to have defeated India in the nine ODIs that have been played at this venue.
The playing surface at this picturesque ground is expected to be a belter and more conducive for batting than the pitch at Chennai which was a little on the slower side.
Will India play an extra bowler?!
For the first ODI, India went in two spinners and two pacers with the combination of Shivam Dube and Kedhar Jadhav filling in as the fifth bowler.
The move backfired as both Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja went wicketless, while the Dube-Jadhav combination conceded 69 runs in nine overs.
Hetmyer has been targeting the slower bowlers, especially Ravindra Jadeja, of whom he has scored 80 runs off 50 deliveries in two T20Is and the ODI opener at Chennai.
So, instead of bringing in Yuzvendra Chahal who was also taken to the cleaners in the T20I series, India could include fast bowler Shardul Thakur to the bolster the bowling attack.
Thakur could replace one off Jadhav, Jadeja or Dube. It will be interesting to see if India sacrifices lower-order depth in batting to shore up their bowling resources.
West Indies have the wind in their sails
The visitors have won four ODIs in a row and look a formidable unit under the leadership of Kieron Pollard.
Their depth in bowling is remarkable as they used as many as seven frontline bowlers at Chennai.
They could give Brandon King another opportunity at the top of the order to open the batting alongside Shai Hope in place of Sunil Ambris.
The other change that they might consider is bringing in Khary Pierre in place of leg-spinner Hayden Walsh as Pierre is an economical bowler and can also operate in the power play.
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