Stung by a remarkable fightback from West Indies on the final day of the rain-hit second Test, India will have to look at their bowling combinations and get back to winning ways when the third cricket Test begins here Tuesday.
Riding on rookie batsman Roston Chase’s resolute 137 off 269 balls, West Indies held on with a fighting draw in the rain-affected second Test in Jamaica.
But the visitors still hold a 1-0 lead in the four-match series after winning the first Test in Antigua by an innings and 92 runs and would look to seal the series when they take the field at the Darren Sammy Stadium here.
Only four Tests have been played at this ground, since the inaugural Test here in 2003. India have experienced the playing conditions previously on the 2006 tour, and that game ended in a draw.
In fact, three of the four Tests have ended without a result, with West Indies beating Bangladesh by 296 runs in 2014.
Unlike the Sabina Park pitch, the wicket laid out here has a brownish hue to it, with dry grass all over the surface.
On Sunday evening, there was only a minor tinge of green, perhaps owing to the fact that the grounds men were still watering it.
Any moisture though should evaporate within the first hour of play, with the sun beating down, as the pitch already looks a batting beauty in keeping with its history.
As such, India’s ploy of playing five bowlers should stay untouched but it can be assumed that they ought to have discussed the lines bowled at the West Indies’ batsmen and why they couldn’t take six wickets on a day five pitch in Jamaica.
Even so, with the team still enjoying a series lead, it is tough to anticipate any changes in the pacers’ quota. However, the one change that can come about is regarding the second spinner slot.
Amit Mishra’s performance on day five was a huge let down, as he was unable to bowl a holding line and instead leaked runs.
With the pitch easing up and the ball going soft, it had a major impact on the skipper’s plan to bowl his spinners in tandem.
As such, with the tendency of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav to sometimes bowl short and wide, Virat Kohli will be tempted to bring in Ravindra Jadeja.
A weak top-order is severely ailing the West Indies after they looked to make progress with both their lower-order partnerships and bowling in the second Test.
Given the still-existing gulf in quality and experience between the two sides, snatching that fighting draw at Sabina Park was a huge morale booster for them.
The question is, if they can maintain this momentum, replicate that form, and once again prevent India from taking an unassailable 2-0 lead? Match starts at 7.30 pm IST.