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India eyeing another big win

01:16 PM May 30, 2019 | Free Press Journal Correspondant

Port of Spain : On a high after sealing the series with comprehensive victories, an upbeat India will be aiming to complete a 3-0 rout when they meet a listless West Indies in the final Test of the series, here today.

Having already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series after their crushing 237-run win in the third Test, Virat Kohli and his men will. With skipper Kohli making it clear that he will like to have Rohit Sharma at No 5 and promote himself to No 3, it is unlikely that the core batting line-up will have any change in the final Test match.

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However with Shikhar Dhawan not having much of a performance barring his 84 in the opening Test, it will be interesting to see if Murali Vijay, who was dropped in the last game despite being fit makes a comeback in the playing XI. The opener’s thumb injury has fully healed, as announced by batting coach Sanjay Bangar previously.

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Even the five-pronged bowling attack could undergo change. In a long season, where India play another 13 Tests, the workload for the likes of Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami needs to be managed.

One of them could be afforded a breather, with a rebounding chance given to Umesh Yadav, or even newbie Shardul Thakur could get a look-in, if Kohli is in experimental mode.

The standout performer in the series for India has been Ravichandran Ashwin, who is now world No 1 all-rounder in Test as per the official rankings. With two centuries and two five-wicket hauls, the Tamil Nadu lad has been the toast of the team. Ashwin has scored runs in pressure situations and provided crucial breakthroughs just when it was required.

If Ashwin is a sureshot candidate for the Man of the Series award, one certainly needs to applaud Mohammed Shami for his lion-hearted performances in the three-Test matches after a hiatus of nearly one and half years due to serious knee injury.

11 wickets in 3 games may not be much in terms of volume but he has been very effective with the new as well as the old ball.

Among the batsmen, opener KL Rahul (236 runs) has been pretty consistent with a big hundred and a half-century in the two Tests while Ajinkya Rahane has again showed why he is such an important cog in the Indian team’s wheel.

There has been this debate whether the visitors have done just enough keeping in mind the relative weaknesses of the opposition and never moved out of third gear. If the Indian team wants to keep the No 1 Test crown, they will have to be more ruthless, a trait not showcased in this series until days four and five in St. Lucia.

West Indies, meanwhile, will be hoping for some level of improvement in their play after yet another meek surrender. After Roston Chase’s hundred in Jamaica, things looked upbeat for the hosts particularly after they reduced India to 130/5 in the first innings of the third Test.

For a step forward in the second Test, they have again regressed two back. As such barring a standout spell, or two, it is tough to expect them to bowl India out twice. Any changes, despite the crushing losses, look unlikely.

Teams:

India: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja, Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohd. Shami, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma.

West Indies: Jason Holder (c), Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Leon Johnson, Shane Dowrich (wk), Devendra Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite, Shannon Gabriel, Miguel Cummins, Alzarri Joseph.

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