It has been a lopsided contest so far between West Indies and India with the visitors reigning supreme in all three formats and they will be looking to finish on a high when the second and final Test begins at Jamaica on Friday.
The hosts have it all to do at Sabina Park after squandering the first Test by a margin of 318 runs and they will look to summon the same spirit that saw them vanquish England in the Caribbean earlier in the year.
The margin of defeat in the first Test shows the huge gap that currently separates West Indies from India and the Caribbean side will have to significantly raise their game if they are to level the series.
Here, we look at three key individual battles that they might need to win at Jamaica if they are to bolster their prospects of a win.
Roach vs Pujara
The performance of Kemar Roach was one of the rare bright sparks for Windies in their crushing loss at Antigua with the pacer picking up a five-wicket haul in the match.
Roach has been nothing short of stellar with the bat in the red-ball format since 2017 with the pacer picking up 67 wickets in his last 17 Test appearances at an average of only 20.98.
He was the Windies bowler who troubled India’s batsmen the most at Antigua and he can give them a decisive advantage at Jamaica if he can maintain his current form.
Roach got the better of Pujara in both innings in the first Test with the India top-order stalwart managing scores of two and 25. The Windies pacer will have to do it again with Pujara having the capability of playing the long innings if he gets settled at the crease.
Holder vs Kohli
While Kohli perished cheaply to a Shannon Gabriel bouncer in the first innings at Antigua, the India skipper made amends with an assured half-century in the second.
Kohli was starting to look in imperious touch before his dismissal on 51 but his ominous form suggests a big innings could just be around the corner. With his No1 Test ranking under threat from Steve Smith as well, the India skipper will be eager to add to his 25 tons in the format.
Kohli’s Windies counterpart Holder had a decent outing with the ball at Antigua but the talismanic all-rounder is capable of much more than the two wickets he picked up across the two innings.
Holder has had the better of Kohli on several occasions in the past with his shorter deliveries and the West Indies captain can do his side a big favour if he can repeat the same in the upcoming Test.
Hope vs Bumrah
West Indies were largely shambolic with the bat in the first Test with their second-innings capitulation for just 100 runs being a painful watch. The hosts will no doubt have to perform better with the bat to have any chance and they will be desperate for Shai Hope to rediscover the form he showed in 2017.
The Windies wicketkeeper batsman has not quite managed to hit the same heights in Test cricket as he has done in the limited-overs formats but he clearly has the capability to play the patient game.
Hope can score the big runs as shown by his twin tons at Headingley against England in 2017 but he will need to navigate the threat of Jasprit Bumrah first. The India pacer was in red-hot form in the second innings where he picked up sensational figures of 5-7 in eight overs to continue his extraordinary rise in Test cricket.
If Hope can help Windies win the battle against a rampant Bumrah, the hosts can surely ‘Hope’ to level the series.
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