West Indies look up to batsmen with series on the line

Match details
Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica
August 30 to September 3; 20:00 IST
Live on Sony Pictures Network, streaming on SonyLiv

The main picture
West Indies wouldn’t have needed long to realise they didn’t self-destruct, a common theme in their T20I and ODI defeats on the tour, in the first Test. The batsmen didn’t throw their wickets away in either innings and the bowling was, for the most part, penetrative and accurate. That is, however, not to say the margin of victory (318 runs) flattered India. West Indies were in the contest for about eight sessions in the Test, but India’s bowling overwhelmed them in both the innings and was the cornerstone to the result, with Ishant Sharma taking eight for 74 and Jasprit Bumrah finishing with six for 62 in the match.

West Indies bowlers’ series-defining performances against England earlier this year dominated the pre-series talk and, led by Kemar Roach in the first innings and Roston Chase’s off-spinners in the second, the home team did have India 93 for four and 81 for three respectively in Antigua. The difference, though, in West Indies’s home Test series win against England was Jason Holder and co. outbowled James Anderson and co. in the first two Tests. While they have a largely similar bowling attack for the series against India, the visitor’s bowling, compared to England’s, is more suited to the prevalent conditions and the West Indies bowlers might be unable to outbowl their Indian counterparts.

The onus, therefore, falls on the top- and middle-order batsmen to stymie the Indian bowling, bat more overs—the West Indies managed to occupy the crease for a meagre total of 101.1 overs over two innings in Antigua—and propel the team to 300 in the first innings of the Test match. India’s unrelenting bowling attack, which has bowlers who are as effective with the new ball as the old ball, makes that task difficult, but it is the challenge confronting the West Indies batsmen and will decide who wins the second Test at Sabina Park.

India’s batsmen will look for an improved display after the top order’s failures in the first Test. While Ajinkya Rahane, in partnership with Hanuma Vihari, twice rescued the visitor with 81 and 102, the batting isn’t a matter of concern yet for India. India are a fully functioning team who, to go with their technical prowess and resourcefulness, have the psychological edge over the West Indies.

Pitch report and weather forecast

The Sabina Park pitch has traditionally assisted the fast bowlers more, but spinners have not been short of wickets in the last three Tests played at the venue: of the 98 wickets to fall, 44 have been taken by the spinners, which suggests a well-rounded bowling attack is one of the keys to success.

Afternoon showers have been forecast for the first three days of the Test, with the temperatures in the early-thirties (degree Celsius).

India vs West Indies 2nd Test playing 11

West Indies playing XI for 2nd Test: 1 Jason Holder (c), 2 Kraigg Brathwaite, 3 John Campbell, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Shai Hope, 7 Shamarh Brooks, 8 Roston Chase, 9 Keemo Paul/Rahkeem Cornwall, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Shannon Gabriel

India’s playing XI for 2nd Test: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Mayank Agarwal, 3 KL Rahul, 4 Cheteshwar Pujara, 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Rishabh Pant (wk), 7 Hanuma Vihari, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Ishant Sharma

Match prediction

The battle between the Indian bowlers and the West Indies batsmen is likely to be decisive again.

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