West Indies v India, 2nd Test – Sabina Park live on Sky Sports from 5pm

The Scene

Sabina Park is one of the few remaining grounds in the West Indies that can still attract big crowds for Test matches. Located in downtown Kingston, it will play host to the second Test of four between the West Indies and India. Virat Kohli’s tourists were superb in Antigua – the captain himself leading from the front with a double hundred – before impressively asking the home side to follow-on, leading to a massive four-day innings victory. Jason Holder’s inexperienced side showed glimpses of fight with the bat and should be more competitive in Jamaica.

Conditions

Thunderstorms are forecast throughout the Test, with Day five currently due to be the least likely day to be hit by showers. Kingston is usually quite windy so any precipitation that does arrive will hopefully move on quickly. Temperatures will as ever be in the 30c’s – it is the Caribbean after all.

The Venue

Draw backers be aware that the last fifteen Tests at Sabina Park have ended in a positive result. The surfaces at Kingston are tacky and offer variable bounce and sometimes reverse swing can play a part.

Here are the scores made in sides first innings of the match in Tests played on this ground plus in bold, the winner of the last six Test to be played here –

2015 – 1st inns – 399 (AUS) 2nd inns – 220 (WI) – AUS

2014 – 1st inns – 508/7d (NZ) 2nd inns – 262 (WI) – NZ

2012 – 1st inns – 260 (NZ) 2nd inns – 209 (WI) – WI

2011 – 1st inns – 246 (IND) 2nd inns – 173 (WI) – IND

2009 – 1st inns – 308 (ENG) 2nd inns – 392 (WI) – WI

2008 – 1st inns – 431 (AUS) 2nd inns – 312 (WI) – AUS

Batting in the 1st innings of the match – Average 358

Batting in the 2nd innings of the match – Average 261

NOTE – (we’ve ignored 3rd and 4th match innings for the purposes of this column which has been written for each sides 1st innings performance)

Form Guide & First Inns Runs

West Indies have played 11 Tests since April 2015 . Here are their 1st innings scores plus result in brackets –

243(L) 330(D) 271(L) 223(L) 163(L) 251(L) 220(L) 148(L) 189(W) 299(L) 295(D) – Average 240

India have played 9 Tests since June 2015. Their South African match at Bangalore was so severely hit by rain, India were only 80/0 in their 1st innings. We won’t include that in the overall average. Here are their  1st innings scores plus result in brackets –

566(W) 334(W) 215(W) 80/0(D) 201(W) 312(W) 393(W) 375(L) 462/6d(W) – Average 356

Teams

Kraigg Brathwaite opens fresh from a first innings 74 at Antigua, his third half-century in 4 Tests against India for the West Indies, whilst partner Rajendra Chandrika batted for 151 balls in that Antigua defeat and showed decent technique. Dwayne Bravo played two horror shots and a career average of 40.6 is the bare minimum his talent should be delivering. Marlon Samuels has now been dismissed in single figures in 7 of his last 10 knocks in Tests whilst Jermaine Blackwood’s 1st Test pair was hugely disappointing. Leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo took just 3 wickets in 43 overs whilst Carlos Brathwaite is surely batting too low at number nine and ten, as shown by his second innings half-century. Skipper Jason Holder still looks more a batsman than a bowler despite being picked as a front line seamer and 21 wickets at 42.9 apiece is surely a concern. Paceman Shannon Gabriel should enjoy bowling on the Sabina Park pitch and could better his 1st Test figures of 21-5-65-2.

We can expect no changes for India, unless skipper Kohli decides he needs to lengthen the batting. If so, we might see Stuart Binny or Ravi Jadeja get the nod ahead of Amit Mishra and his leg-spinners. Shikhar Dhawan’s 84 in Antigua ensures he will continue to open with Muralli Vijay – Vijay is one of three survivors from India’s 2011 Jamaica victory – the others being Kohli and seam bowler Ishant Sharma. Ishant took 6 wickets in that match and has the tools required to take advantage of any variable bounce in the pitch. Mohammad Shami was brilliant at Antigua, taking 4-66 in the 1st innings alongside Umesh Yadav, who struck 5 times in the Test. Wriddhaman Saha made a handy 40 with the bat, took 6 catches and a stumping to complete an excellent Test – Dhoni who?

Ones To Watch

A lot was made about Shane Dowrich‘s inclusion ahead of the experienced Denesh Ramdin, but a first innings of 57* off 79 balls should convince supporters of the West Indies that the correct decision was made. Runs down the order are key if the hosts are to stay competitive, especially given Dowrich will bat alongside the likes of Holder and Brathwaite who are both more than capable.

Ravi Ashwin has always been a fine off-spin bowler, especially at home. 183 Test victims in 33 matches at an average of 25.1 is outstanding in an age where finger spin so often struggles. Striding out to bat for India as high as six surprised this writer, but a third Test hundred in Antigua confirmed Ashwin’s status as a genuine all-rounder at this level.

Runs Market

If West Indies bat first, I recommend backing any UNDER RUNS around the 270-273 mark.

If India bat first, I recommend backing any OVER RUNS around the 320-323 mark.

Top First Innings Batsman Market

Shikhar Dhawan looked in good touch in Antigua and I reckon batting against the new ball is the best place to score at Sabina Park. Take him at 5.0 to top score for India.

Opener Rajendra Chandrika shouldn’t be as big as 7.0 to top score for an untrustworthy West Indies batting line up.

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @herefordrich.

Eastbridge now fully licensed in the UK!

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