Focus on WI bowling unit with series on the line

Match details
Barabati Stadium, Cuttack
December 22, Sunday; 13:30 IST

The main picture
West Indies have not just pushed India… and then fizzled out. They have out-thought India, forced them to reinvent and shown good awareness of the conditions, and their own strength and weakness. A combination of these has forced the ODI series into a decider, which, at the outset, doesn’t have a favourite. This has been a bat-dominated tour and, given the relative lack of potency in the bowling ranks of either team, the decider could also be shaped by the performance of the batting line-ups.

The West Indies have had the benefit of winning the toss and thereby Kieron Pollard has been able to play to his team’s strength, which is the batting. With the bowling being a glaring weakness, West Indies are likely to persevere with the win-toss-and-bat-second tactic that has underpinned their two wins on the tour so far. The team management’s decision to replace Hayden Walsh Jr with debutant Khary Pierre only compounded the problem they tried to address—of having a spinner who could bowl 10 overs, exert control during the middle phase and take a wicket or two—and it’s an issue they must solve ahead of the series decider in Cuttack. Evin Lewis, who was the other replacement in their playing XI for the second ODI, looked short of fitness but, having spent some time in the middle, he and the team management will hope the batting fluency he exuded during the T20I series will return.

India will take confidence from the series-leveling victory in Visakhapatnam given that they rose to West Indies’s challenge and out-batted the visitor. The ground fielding and catching—with the exception of Shreyas Iyer’s running out Shimron Hetmyer—were below-par and captain Virat Kohli said the display was “disappointing”. India improved on the bowling front, though they have been forced into a change for the final ODI after Deepak Chahar suffered a hamstring injury in Visakhapatnam. Navdeep Saini has replaced the Rajasthan seamer in the Indian squad and could come straight into the Indian playing XI for the third ODI.

Barabati Stadium pitch report and weather forecast

With even pace and bounce, the pitch here has usually been good for batting. The last match played at Barabati Stadium, between India and England in 2017, produced an aggregate of 747 runs in 100 overs. With dew a distinct possibility and a fast outfield, the captain winning the toss is likely to opt to field first.

India vs West Indies 3rd ODI playing 11

Predicted India playing 11 for 2nd ODI: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 KL Rahul, 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 Rishabh Pant, 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Navdeep Saini, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Shardul Thakur, 11 Kuldeep Yadav

Predicted West Indies playing 11 for 2nd ODI: 1 Kieron Pollard (c), 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Shai Hope, 4 Roston Chase, 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Nicholas Pooran, 7 Jason Holder, 8 Sheldon Cottrell, 9 Hayden Walsh Jr, 10 Keemo Paul, 11 Alzarri Joseph

India vs West Indies 3rd ODI prediction

West Indies cannot allow the match to drift away as they did during the final phase of the India innings in the second ODI and during the middle phase in Chepauk. Some of Pollard’s on-field decisions—giving Roston Chase the ball in the 47th over of the Indian innings in Visakhapatnam, for example—have not helped the team while allowing India to reinforce themselves. How the West Indies manage the 50 overs as a bowling unit is likely to be key to the result.

India vs West Indies 3rd ODI telecast channel

The third One-Day International between India and the West Indies will be aired on the Star Sports Network, while Hotstar will provide the live stream.