After gaining an unassailable lead in the two-match series through their comprehensive win in the first Test, Virat Kohli-led India team would be looking to wrap up things satisfactorily by winning the second and final Test at Jamaica in style as well. Indeed, the Indians are the favourites and it would require a massive turnaround for the hosts to level the rubber.
But it isn’t just the result that would matter. Several other important issues need to be looked into through the course of this upcoming match. Here we list the five most important things that fans need to keep an eye on as the game progresses.
The West Indians must be in a quandary as to what kind of pitch they should prepare for the second Test. Their victory against England in a home Test series earlier in the year was in large part due to the tracks having help for the seamers. But, the quality of Indian pace bowling and the vulnerability of the hosts’ batting line-up makes a green-top a recipe for disaster.
So, it would be very interesting to see the nature of the Sabina Park wicket. It is most likely that it would be a flat deck to provide comfort to the home team’s batsmen.
Shai Hope’s performance
When West Indies plays India in Tests nowadays, it’s Roston Chase who appears to be the most threatening batsman in the Caribbean team. However, there is one player in the Windies side who is more talented and capable – Shai Hope. But, the latter has been in an extended patch of bad form since his twin hundreds led his team to a famous win in Headingley two years ago.
He hasn’t scored a hundred since and has also not scored as many fifties as would be satisfactory. If he fails in this Test also, there will be questions about his place in the team. So, watch out for his scores.
When India plays abroad, there is an intense contest for becoming the player to occupy the sole spinner’s position in the playing XI. If India decide to go into this match also with just one spinner – and that is very likely since the pace bowlers are in such good form – then it would be again interesting to see which tweaker gets the nod.
Ravindra Jadeja batted well in the first Test but didn’t get too many wickets. Ravichandran Ashwin may be tried out due to his great record against this team. But even Kuldeep Yadav has an opportunity due to his brilliance and the importance Ravi Shastri and Kohli give to wrist spinners. Whomever plays in the team, he will be under pressure to come up with a performance that makes them impossible to drop for the next game.
Pressure on Mayank Agarwal
KL Rahul can afford to fail in this Test since he got good scores in the first game. But Mayank Agarwal would be under pressure to score. Not that he is certain to lose his place in the team if there is a bad performance, but India are desperate to find a dependable opening pair. Another failed opening partnership would keep that headache in place for the Indian side.
Rishabh Pant in focus
Lastly, everyone would be watching Rishabh Pant’s performance closely. The young keeper from Delhi has a lot of credit and the support of great players in store but if he gets out while playing a bad shot, there will be a barrage of criticism coming his way.
His keeping would also be in focus since any mistakes would lead to people asking for a return of Wriddhiman Saha. So, keep an eye on how Pant performs in Jamaica Test – both with the bat and the gloves.