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Windies seek patience in batting to deny India series sweep

Ind v WI, 2nd Test, preview

India were clinical in taking apart the Windies in the first Test in Rajkot, and will be aiming for a 2-0 sweep of the series in the second Test in Hyderabad.

India v Windies 
2nd Test
Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad
Friday, 12 October; 9:30 AM local, 5:00 AM GST

The Windies, ranked eighth on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings, are taking on the No.1 side in their own backyard and are aware of the challenge that entails. However, they also know they are capable of much better than the margin of defeat in the first Test – a record innings and 272 runs – suggests.

As captain Jason Holder pointed out, they’ve had their moments in recent Tests, managing wins against Pakistan, England and Sri Lanka in the last year and a bit. But to put up a strong fight and put themselves in with the best chance of a favourable result, their batting will have to show more patience.

In their two hits in the first Test, they barely lasted a total of 100 overs. Roston Chase, Keemo Paul and Kieran Powell got starts, but where three Indian batsmen got hundreds, the Windies were unable to go on to build a big one. A tendency to attack when they needed to show patience and build partnerships proved their undoing.

Their bowling was hampered by the absence of Holder and niggles to a couple of others – and it appears likely that area will remain a concern, with lingering concerns over Holder and Shannon Gabriel.

Holder said his ankle injury was better and despite the pain, he was “pushing” to be part of the XI, while a decision on Gabriel would be taken on the morning of the game.

It might have been a chance for India to play around with their team composition, what with the likes of Mayank Agarwal waiting in the wings for his debut, but it looks likely that they will field a rare unchanged XI. On the eve of the Test, they named the same XI that played the opening Test, along with Shardul Thakur as 12th man.

The team management, thus, continue to back KL Rahul – despite his duck in the first match and a poor run in England until the final Test – as well as Prithvi Shaw, who made a century on debut, as openers and Ajinkya Rahane in the middle order. The Windies will also again have to deal with the spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav making life difficult for them.

Key players
Kuldeep Yadav (India): After being taken for runs by Paul and Chase in the Windies’ first innings, the left-arm wrist spinner came back well to pick up five wickets in the second innings. His challenge will be to maintain his consistency and accuracy to support Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, the spin frontmen.

Devendra Bishoo (Windies): The spinner picked up four Indian wickets, but also gave away 217 runs. He will be attempting to sustain the pressure on the batsmen for long lengths of time. In conditions that favoured spinners, he sent down double the number of overs as compared to any of his team-mates, and will be expected to shoulder the bulk of the load again.

The temperature is expected to be around 34°C in Hyderabad, with a mostly sunny day. Holder expects the surface to be drier than the one in Rajkot, with more cracks.

India: Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Hanuma Vihari, Mohammed Siraj

Windies: Jason Holder (c), Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Kraigg Brathwaite, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Jahmar Hamilton, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Keemo Paul, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Jomel Warrican

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