India will look to add the finishing touches to what has been a completely dominant tour of the Caribbean when they lock horns with West Indies in the second and final Test at Jamaica beginning on Friday.
The visitors have been in rampant form throughout the tour with series clean sweeps in the ODI and T20 formats and they will look to do the same in the two-Test series which they lead 1-0.
Along with the series win, another vital 60 points in the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) are on offer for Virat Kohli’s men at Sabina Park and it is hard to look beyond another India win at this stage based on current form.
Hosts look to regroup after Antigua thrashing
While Windies were comprehensively defeated in the preceding limited-overs clashes as well, the manner in which they went down to a 318-run defeat to India in the first Test was dreadful to say the least.
The young and inexperienced side led by Jason Holder showed barely any aptitude or application for the five-day format in a tame surrender at Antigua with their second innings performance highlighting their woes.
None of the batsmen were able to register even a half-century in the Test with the likes of Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer being the biggest disappointments in an ordinary batting effort in both innings.
The Caribbean side recorded a historic Test series win over England earlier this year but looked a shadow of that side in their capitulation at Antigua. They will need to raise their games drastically if they are to restore some pride in their displays.
India look to continue Windies domination
India will be looking to record its fourth consecutive Test series win on Caribbean soil when they take the field at Sabina Park after what has been an extensive period of domination against the West Indies.
India have won the last seven Test series against the Windies on the bounce with three of them coming in the Caribbean in 2006, 2011 and 2016. The last time West Indies managed to get the better of India in the Test format was all the way back in 2002 when the hosts prevailed by 2-1 in a five-match series against Sourav Ganguly and his men.
It is a far cry from the past where West Indies were the dominant side with 12 series victories out of 16 in meetings between the two sides leading up to 2002.
Focus on Pant, Agarwal for India
India’s display in the first Test at Antigua was a ruthless one but question marks still remain over the form of Rishabh Pant who has been given the unequivocal backing as the wicketkeeper of the side throughout the tour.
Pant has taken the gloves for India in all ODI, T20 and Test clashes so far against the Windies but his erratic form with the bat has come under increasing scrutiny. The youngster has done nothing of note with the bat bar one innings of 65 in the T20 series with his rash mode of dismissals inviting plenty of criticism.
With an experienced Wriddhiman Saha waiting patiently in the wings, Pant needs to justify his place in the squad soon and the spotlight will be on him at Jamaica. There will also be pressure on opener Mayank Agarwal to deliver after he mustered just 21 runs in the two innings at Antigua.
There isn’t much to ponder otherwise for Kohli and the team management with the visitors expected to retain the same playing XI for the second Test.
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Shamarh Brooks, Darren Bravo, Shai Hope (wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase, Jason Holder (c), Keemo Paul, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel.
India: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah.
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