The Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica is all set to host the second Test match between West Indies and India from August 30 and the visiting team has already begun its preparations for the series-decider.
India currently lead the ICC Test Championship leaderboard and the two-match series 1-0 after their massive 318-run victory over the Windies in the first Test match at North Sound, Antigua.
The first Test saw India winning inside four days after a dramatic West Indies batting collapse which saw them getting bowled out for 100 while chasing a target of 419 at the Sir Viv Richards Cricket Stadium.
India will now be looking to maintain its unbeaten streak on the tour in the final match and return home with a perfect record.
The Virat Kohli-led side had swept the T20Is 3-0 and won the three-match ODI series 2-0 with the first match being washed out.
Kohli meanwhile, will become the most successful Indian Test captain if his team wins the second match in Jamaica, surpassing MS Dhoni with 28 wins in the longest format as skipper.
West Indies on the other hand, will look to bounce back and draw the Test series after their abject surrender in the first match in which they looked clueless against the Indian fast bowlers, especially in their second innings.
The hosts made one change in their squad for the final match of the series on Wednesday, replacing fast bowler Miguel Cummins with all-rounder Keemo Paul in the 13-man team.
KL Rahul couldn’t capitalize on his starts in both the innings of the first Test and will be desperate for a big one in the second match. His batting partner Mayank Agarwal did not have the best of matches in Antigua but is likely to be persisted with.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli will form the middle-order. Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane getting back in form has given a lot of strength to the Indian middle-order.
Meanwhile, Hanuma Vihari’s impressive knock of 93 in the second innings will keep Rohit Sharma out of the playing XI.
Even though Rishabh Pant is set to keep wickets in the second Test as well, he will have to start delivering with the bat sooner rather than later as Wriddhiman Saha is breathing down his neck.
Ravindra Jadeja will keep his place as the lone spinner in the side.
Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami tormented the Windies batting line-up in the first Test and will look to do the same in the second Test as well.
PREDICTED TEAM LINEUP
India (unchanged): KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Shamarh Brooks, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Shai Hope (WK), Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder (C), Keemo Paul, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel
Roston Chase is West Indies’ premier Test batsman and it is crucial that he finds form for the Caribbeans to have a good chance at beating a strong Indian side.
Chase was looking in good nick in the first innings of the first Test before he was dismissed by a wily leg-side trap that Virat Kohli had set for Ishant Sharma.
Any chances of a Windies fightback in the second innings diminished after Shami uprooted Chase’s stumps.
Jasprit Bumrah showed his class and consistency with a lethal bowling spell that saw the West Indian batting lineup falling like a pile of cards.
The Indian registered second innings figures of 5 wickets for 7 runs in just 8 overs of bowling. Bumrah will be key again in the two-paced Sabina Park and he holds the aces even before a ball is bowled.
Roston Chase had managed to hold off Jasprit Bumrah in Antigua and it will be great to watch them lock horns against each other again.
Kemar Roach was a big positive for Jason Holder’s men after the bowler was amply rewarded for toiling hard in Antigua. He top-scored with the willow in the second innings as he made a more-than-run-a-ball 38.
He prised out four Indian wickets in the first innings and posed a major threat to the visiting side. Roach would be raring to go again as West Indies would most definitely be unwilling to go down without a fight.
Cheteshwar Pujara is the sought-after wicket for opposition bowlers in the Indian Test batting lineup that boasts of a certain Virat Kohli, and that speaks for itself.
The Saurashtra batsman is a mark of consistency and tenacity, and has been immense for India especially overseas, although 27 runs from 2 innings in the first Test would be dismal reading for Pujara.
All said and done, his will still be the prize scalp come the second Test.
Roach dismissed Pujara twice in the Antigua Test, and thus far, the West Indian has won the battle between the two. It needs to be seen if he would win the war though.
With Ajinkya Rahane back in form, the Indian juggernaut looks capable of firing from all cylinders, although the top four batsmen have great scope for improvement.
The bowling attack has proved its class yet again as it is justifiably billed as the best in the world.
India does not have to tinker with their team much, as it goes without saying that one does not want to change a lineup that won the previous match by 318 runs.
That is most certainly not the case for the West Indies, even as a bowling attack led by Kemar Roach managed to worry India’s famed batting for a good period of time in Antigua.
Jason Holder’s men have it in them to fight back, but Team Cricwizz reckons that Virat Kohli’s India would be comfortable victors again, come the second Test at the historic Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica.