India is continuing to run away at the top of the ICC test rankings after they bagged another humongous victory against a lackluster-West Indies outfit just recently at Rajkot. There’s not much to say really, other than a superior cricketing nation is up against a struggling one in the most highly skilled format of the game.
Expected to win this test series comfortably, India somehow managed to exceed expectations with a catastrophic blow that the West Indies clearly didn’t brace themselves for as the home side ran away with the match by an innings and 272 runs. A first innings lead of 649 runs dominated by the likes of Prithvi Shaw and Ravindra Jadeja who both scored maiden-test centuries as well as skipper Virat Kohli who registered his 24th hundred in his test career led the charge for India. Even Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant chipped in with half centuries, for the West Indies, the conclusion of the innings couldn’t come quick enough. Apart from a fourth-ball duck from KL Rahul, India’s batting performance was just about faultless with everyone contributing a decent amount to their total. Hyderabad might not give them a first innings total of 600+ like Rajkot, but one thing for sure is that their bowling attack will continue to give the opposition grief on these dry surfaces. The Indian spinners took a combined-16 wickets in the Windies two innings at Rajkot, almost the perfect 20! The first innings was dominated by Ravi Ashwin who picked up tidy figures of 4/37, but he was quick to be outdone in the second innings where 23-year-old chinaman Kuldeep Yadav single-handedly destroyed the Windies top half of the batting order with 5/57. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja added another four wickets to the spin department, it was apparent that the touring side couldn’t handle the slow bowling at all. Ahead of this second test, India really doesn’t need to tweak anything unless they feel the need to give some bench players a game in Hyderabad. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to give in-form domestic opener Mayank Agarwal a crack against the West Indies though, he’s yet to make his test debut at 27-years of age and would undoubtedly benefit from the opportunity. That means India would have to either drop KL Rahul, or rest one of their big guns in Cheteshwar Pujara or skipper Virat Kohli. Ahead of the upcoming tour down under against Australia, it’s vital that India get as much game time into these inexperienced openers as possible.
With no place to hide after a shambolic performance in the first test at Rajkot, the West Indies will be praying for a better showing in roughly 24 hours’ time. There were few and far positives to take out of that first test, and just maybe that’s the kick up the backside they needed to wake up and realize that this isn’t a game of amateur cricket with your mates. A grueling 149 overs in the field was nothing compared to their shaky-batting effort where they barely would have lasted a standard ODI innings. There was plenty of anticipation & excitement surrounding what the likes of Shai Hope and talented-youngster Shimron Hetmyer would bring to the table in this series, and it’s fair to say that it was a massive let down at the conclusion of both innings. Opener Kieran Powell and all-rounder Roston Chase were the only two batsmen to register half centuries in both Windies-collapses at the crease, even the usually-reliable Kraigg Brathwaite went unnoticed in what was a forgettable dual-batting display. The absence of captain Jason Holder may not have seemed to be that much of an issue, but without on-field leadership and his batting ability down the West Indies order I can assure you that he was sorely missed. The good news for the Windies is that he’s expected to make a return in Hyderabad tomorrow, that will probably see Keemo Paul make way. While Holder isn’t renowned as a big wicket-taker, his past six tests have produced 25 wickets in what appears to be a growing purple patch of form. One thing the Windies might look to adjust is their current bowling combination; India is a place that rewards spinners which probably explains their three-man spin attack. Despite claiming a four-wicket haul, Devendra Bishoo was a one-man show as he chipped away at the Indians for a total of 54 overs. 26-year-old off-spinner Jomel Warrican could be a potential inclusion as the Windies second-specialist spinner alongside Bishoo at Hyderabad, It was evident that Roston Chase didn’t trouble India with his right-arm offbreaks.
Top 5 fantasy picks | India | 2nd test | Hyderabad
- Ravi Ashwin
- KL Rahul
- Virat Kohli
- Prithvi Shaw
- Kuldeep Yadav
Wildcard pick – Ajinkya Rahane
Top 5 fantasy picks | West Indies | 2nd test | Hyderabad
- Devendra Bishoo
- Kraigg Brathwaite
- Shai Hope
- Jason Holder
- Roston Chase
Wildcard pick – Shimron Hetmyer
India (possible) – 1. Prithvi Shaw 2. KL Rahul 3. Cheteshwar Pujara/Mayank Agarwal 4. Virat Kohli © 5. Ajinkya Rahane 6. Rishabh Pant (wk) 7. Ravindra Jadeja 8. Ravi Ashwin 9. Kuldeep Yadav 10. Umesh Yadav/Mohammed Siraj 11. Mohammed Shami.
West Indies (possible) – 1. Kraigg Brathwaite 2. Kieran Powell 3. Shai Hope 4. Shimron Hetmyer 5. Roston Chase 6. Sunil Ambris 7. Shane Dowrich (wk) 8. Jason Holder © 9. Devendra Bishoo 10. Shermon Lewis/Jomel Warrican 11. Shannon Gabriel.