Date and time: June 30, 09:00 local, 01:00 GMT and 18:30 IST
Venue: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua
West Indies vs India matches in the 1970s and 80s were proper David vs Goliath battles, with Clive Lloyd and co. being world beaters and India, under different captains, struggling for an identity. A couple of decades later, in the 2000s, both these teams were evenly matched and provided great contests, though West Indies, under Carl Hooper in 2002 and Brian Lara in 2006, won well-contested ODI series away (3-4 series win) and home (4-1 series win ) respectively, against what were competitive Indian sides.
However, since the start of this decade, we have gone back to witnessing David vs Goliath battles again, with the roles reversed. West Indies, for cricketing and non-cricketing reasons, have declined rapidly in the last 15 years.
Jason Holder and co. started this series as underdogs (the Goliath) and for them to win this five-ODI series, they needed—and still need—to play extremely well and India being a champion side themselves, had to be in a relaxing mode, lacking intensity. But neither has happened and consequently the home team find themselves 0-1 down in what has essentially become a four-ODI series since the washed out first one-dayer at Queen’s Park Oval.
With three matches left to play, West Indies need to bounce back quickly. They will have had four days between the second and third ODI to reflect on their performances in the first one-and-a-half and an improvement is needed in all departments.
Kyle Hope and Sunil Ambris have replaced Jonathan Carter and Kieran Powell in the West Indies squad. And, in addition to earning their maiden ODI call-ups, the elder Hope (Kyle) and Ambris might well make their ODI debuts on Friday.
India’s batting struggled a touch in the first match, considering their lofty standards, and if not for the rain, we might well have witnessed an interesting contest. But the opening pair of Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan have provided 100-run partnerships in both the ODIs so far, handing India a massive advantage and putting the hosts on the back-foot. The Indian middle order is suspect and the form of Yuvraj Singh, even though he has failed in just three consecutive ODIs, is a worry for the team management. From the West Indies’s perspective, they need to make early breakthroughs, a no-brainer, in order to expose the weakest link in this Indian side.
The Antigua weather forecast for Friday (June 30) says that patchy rain is possible throughout the day. A similar forecast was made for the second match as well, in Trinidad, only for us to have a 43-over match after a delayed start by two hours.
West Indies vs India, third ODI playing XI
As aforementioned, the hosts have a window to hand debuts to both Kyle Hope and Ambris, who are pure batsmen and have come into the national side on the back of scoring heavily in West Indies A tour of Srilanka last year and in the domestic one-day competition respectively. Rovman Powell and Kesrick Williams have yet to feature and their chances of playing the third ODI hang in the balance.
WI probable playing XI: 1. Jason Holder (c), 2. Shai Hope (wk), 3. Kyle Hope, 4. Roston Chase, 5. Evin Lewis, 6. Jason Mohammed, 7. Sunil Ambris, 8. Devendra Bishoo, 9. Miguel Cummins/Rovman Powell/Kesrick Williams, 10. Alzarri Joseph, and 11. Ashley Nurse
For India, Yuvraj’s place in the XI hangs in the balance. He walked into dicey match situations in Trinidad and might be given the benefit of the doubt. The other 10 players are likely to keep their places and the team management might yet not be in an experimental mode.
India’s playing XI for third ODI: 1. Ajinkya Rahane, 2. Shikhar Dhawan, 3. Virat Kohli (c), 4. Yuvraj Singh/Rishabh Pant, 5. MS Dhoni (wk), 6. Kedar Jadhav, 7. Hardik Pandya, 8. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9. Ravichandran Ashwin/Ravindra Jadeja, 10. Umesh Yadav, and 11. Kuldeep Yadav
India’s strength, across every format for some time now, has been the balance of their line-ups. They are either batting-heavy or its opposite, and the bowling attack has lately not been reliant on the batting line-up giving them a huge cushion of runs. Therefore, as an opposition, you have to produce a complete performance, to come out on the right side of the result. This is the task facing the West Indies: their bowlers have to produce at least as good a performance as in the first ODI, and the batsmen will have to balance caution with aggression, which they were unable to in the second match, to give their team a chance of winning the third ODI. But are they capable of a complete performance? I highly doubt.