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The first test between India and the West Indies turned out to be an absolutely one-sided contest. The way that the West Indies was beaten may have raised questions about the point of this test-series at all but it did not surprise anybody.
The two teams now move to Hyderabad for the second and final test. India may want to try out a few players before its Australian tour but neither the opposition here nor the conditions are going to be anything close to what they encounter down under. The West Indies would be embarrassed with their performance in the last test. Better teams than theirs have come and lost to India but the complete lack of application or willingness to fight was apparent.
The return of some of their senior players may make them more competitive than last time and allow the West Indies to give a better account of themselves.
As India looks ahead to the second test match, the only things on their mind would have to do with selection and trying to get a look at all the potential candidates for the upcoming tour. Mayank Aggarwal, Hanuma Vihari, Shardul Thakur, and Mohamad Siraj are waiting in the wings all eager for a chance.
The reality, though, is that all the players will not be able to play this game. Mayank Aggarwal is an opening batsman and unless the team management decides to drop Lokesh Rahul, there does not seem to be any place for him.
Considering the fact that Rahul has just scored a century two matches ago and is himself settling down into the opening position, it is unlikely that the team will make him sit out. Prithvi Shaw has just played one inning and scored a hundred so he is not going anywhere else either.
Pujara seems to be the only one that could ‘rest’ and allow Mayank Aggarwal to play as the third opener in the side.
Kohli sat out the Asia Cup and should play this match but if he does step back, then it could allow the team management to play Vihari alongside Rahane as well. The other option to give Vihari some game time is to play with four bowlers, possibly giving one of Ashwin or Jadeja a break.
Mohamad Shami and Umesh Yadav can be replaced by Thakur and Siraj but making so many changes to the side may not be what India wants.
Irrespective of the final playing eleven, though, India has the squad to be able to win this match. Prithvi Shaw started with a century and he may well add another one to his tally in this match. His penchant for scoring hundreds is what got him into the side in the first place.
With flat pitches and almost no threat from the West Indian bowling, we recommend backing all four of India’s top-order to get centuries. Even if two or three end up getting the runs, you would have had a good payday.
Among the bowlers, it is India’s spinners that are going to do the bulk of the damage in this match. We don’t think India will be worried about winning this match. What they would desperately be hoping for is some intense competition to gauge how good the youngsters really are.
Prithvi Shaw, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, V Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, RR Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, SN Thakur.
The only positive for the West Indies in the last match would have been that their bowlers bowled only once in the searing heat. Their batsmen ensured that India’s first inning total would be more than enough for them twice over and thus afforded the bowlers an extra day of rest.
The return of Kemar Roach and Jason Holder should add some teeth to the West Indian bowling. Kemo Paul and Shermon Lewis look likely to miss out. Holder will also bring the experience of having captained the side, something that was lacking in Braithwaite last time around.
It is not wise to expect any miracles, though. Jason Holder can only work with the players that he has got. The West Indian bowling lineup looks incapable of picking 20 wickets and they may well struggle to get ten in the entire match once again.
Shannon Gabriel is dangerous with the new ball and bows with pace but this surface is not really for him. With Roach and Holder to back him up in this match, the only hope for the West Indies would be to rip through the Indian top-order in the first few overs because it’s all going to be downhill if that does not happen.
Devendra Bishoo bowled for long overs but never really threatened anyone. Roston Chase and Kraig Brathwaite are part-timers that can be bested by part-timers of every domestic team in India. What about the batting?
The West Indies chose to attack the spinners and we can’t really fault them for that. It seemed to have an effect on Ashwin in the second inning and also allowed a few West Indian batsmen to get some runs behind their name.
What the West Indies needs to do better is to pick their bowlers to attack. Ashwin and Jadeja don’t do well when attacked but Kuldeep Yadav thrives on it. Maybe play defensively against Kuldeep and let him do the work.
If India does pick a few green new ball bowlers then going after them would be a good idea but playing out Shami or Umesh Yadav is not a backward step. It's just the smart thing to do.
The best we can hope from the West Indies is for an improved performance and maybe the match going into the fourth day. Braithwaite and Holder would be our picks to be the top-scores for the side. To think of victory in this match would require not just one but a couple of miracles to happen at the same time.
Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, SW Ambris, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Jason Holder, Devendra Bishoo, JA warrican, Shannon Gabriel.
The team winning the toss is almost certainly going to bat first
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
Hot and sunny conditions have been forecast for the entire duration of the test match. The pitch in Hyderabad is usually excellent for batting and the first inning of both the teams should not be much different.
Wear and tear will bring the spinners into the match by the third day but it should be hard work for the bowlers before that. Reverse swing is usually seen on this ground and both sides have fast bowlers to exploit that.
India is the overwhelming favorite to win this match and there is nothing to counter that. Only the most insane odds would convince us to bet on the West Indies. Betting on India is the smart way to go even though there is not much return in that. Look at in-play options or bets on individual performances to get a better return for your money.
Back India to win.
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