Spotlight on Tarouba as India face confident West Indies in series decider

West Indies
After India’s loss in the second ODI, their head coach Rahul Dravid said: “With the Asia Cup and World Cup coming up, we have to look at the bigger picture. We cannot get worried about every single game and every single series. If we do that, it will be a mistake.”

If India walk the talk, Tuesday’s series decider could be another rest day for Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. Even in the first ODI, Rohit batted at No. 7 and Kohli never came out.

Ishan Kishan has made good use of these World Cup auditions, scoring a fifty in each ODI. However, two other candidates – Suryakumar Yadav and Sanju Samson – have failed to impress. Suryakumar got starts in both games but couldn’t convert them into something substantial. Samson played only the second match and scored 9. But Tuesday could present them with another opportunity.
West Indies will not be going to the World Cup, but they have a chance to register a rare ODI series win against India in recent times. Since 2006, the two teams have played 12 bilateral ODI series against each other with India winning every time.

Batters from both sides – barring Kishan and Shai Hope – found it difficult to score in Bridgetown as the pitch helped fast bowlers and spinners alike. Hope said after the first ODI that a 9.30am start was the main reason behind that. It will be another 9.30am start in Tarouba, where the third ODI will be held, and while the pitch may not be as conducive for seamers, spinners could once again prove to be difficult to score off.

West Indies WLLWL (last five completed ODIs, most recent first)

Until the start of 2023, Shai Hope was primarily a top-order batter who doubled up as an anchor. He averaged 48.95 with a strike rate of 74.68. But since then, despite moving down to the order, he has struck at an average of 69.66 and a strike rate of 96.75. The main contributing factor towards that elevated strike rate is his improved six-hitting skills. He is now hitting a six every 33 balls as opposed to one every 93 balls prior to that. With scores of 43 and 63 not out so far in the series, he will once again be a key batter for West Indies.
Few can do what Suryakumar Yadav does in T20 cricket, but he is finding it difficult to adjust to the rhythm of the 50-over game. While he has a strike rate of over 100 in ODIs, he has managed just 476 runs in 23 innings, at an average of 23.80. After the second ODI, coach Dravid said that the team management wanted to give him as many opportunities as they can. With the ODI World Cup roughly two months away, Suryakumar better grab these chances soon.

After a win in the second ODI, West Indies are unlikely to make any changes.

West Indies (probable): 1 Brandon King, 2 Kyle Mayers, 3 Alick Athanaze, 4 Shai Hope (capt & wk), 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Keacy Carty, 7 Romario Shepherd, 8 Yannic Cariah, 9 Alzarri Joseph, 10 Gudakesh Motie, 11 Jayden Seales

India, too, could field an unchanged XI, resting Rohit and Kohli again.

India (probable): 1 Ishan Kishan (wk), 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Sanju Samson, 4 Hardik Pandya (capt), 5 Suryakumar Yadav, 6 Axar Patel, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Umran Malik, 11 Mukesh Kumar

This will be the first ODI at the Brian Lara Stadium. The venue has hosted only one men’s international game to date: a T20I between West Indies and India last year. In 23 List A matches there, teams batting first have breached 250 only seven times. On Tuesday, the weather is expected to be cloudy but the rain should stay away.

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