About the Match
West Indies has proven to thrive in the shorter format of the game but they are yet to find their foothold in Test cricket in recent times; with a young side consisting of T20 specialists and experienced one-day players, West Indies will be eager to do well in home conditions when they take on India in the 1st Test at North Sound starting from 21st July. The men in blue are pumped up about their chances here and will leave no stone unturned to continue their good show in the Test format; the warm-up game ended in a draw and both teams are looking geared up for the challenge on an expected slow surface at Antigua.
Jason Holder will don the captain’s hat and will try to put up a better performance after the 2-0 series loss against the Aussies down under he has the right attitude and a good team that can challenge the Indians with clever strategy and execution. Holder will form the pace attack along with Carlos Brathwaite, Shannon Gabriel and Miguel Cummins, who looks to make his debut here. They can be a formidable force to reckon with despite the hard-hitting force of the Indian batting line-up.
The spin department will be led by Devendra Bishoo, who last played a Test match in 2015 against Sri Lanka but has a total of 55 wickets from 15 games in this format; along with others like Roston Chase and Rajendra Chandrika, Bishoo can exploit the home conditions to outwit the Indians.
The batting line-up has players like Marlon Samuels, Darren Bravo, Kraigg Brathwaite, Leon Johnson, Jermaine Blackwood, Jason Holder and Carlos Brathwaite, who can be effective in thwarting the efforts of the Indian spin. Overall, they are a young team with lot of talent but also have experienced players, who can guide the team to achieve many laurels.
With the pitches expected to be slow here, India will try to make the best use of its spin attack to stifle the hosts; R Ashwin is in good form and he is ready to play the anchor’s role, prepping for long bowling spells along with others like Amit Mishra and Ravindra Jadeja, who can be instrumental with their wicket-taking abilities. Medium pacer Shardul Thakur is poised to make his Test debut while Mohammad Shami has been consistent in putting up disciplined spells with his pace.
The batting line-up consists of Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Dhawan and Kohli in the top-order; Binny, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha and Ravindra Jadeja can stabilize the innings from the middle order. This is a strong batting outfit that has proven to be a run machine at home and overseas; they can combine well to overcome the pace attack of the hosts.
In the warm-up game, Ashwin picked up 6 wickets in total, which helped them draw the match while Jadeja claimed 4 wickets; Mishra, Shami, Binny and Thakur were also effective and can add depth and variety to the attack. Kohli’s well-made 51 is a good sign while Rahul and Jadeja contributed well with the bat; India is surely a determined side which can flourish in these conditions.
Both teams have a good mix of young talent and experience with bat and ball; West Indies did better than expected, in fact, brilliantly, in the ODI series and will want to carry their form into the series. The contest might be closely fought but we feel that India with its batting prowess and spin magic is better placed to win