Man of the Match: Ajinkya Rahane
Host West Indies face an uphill task against India at Antigua
Our Prediction is India to win the Test Match!
Host West Indies will be looking to get off to a decent start when they take on India in the first Test of the series at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound in Antigua on Thursday. Captain Jason Holder will be hoping that the side can deliver a decent show with the bat and ball against India. Earlier this year, West Indies managed to beat England in the three-match Test series played in the Caribbean.
On the other hand, India will be looking to maintain their winning momentum after winning the T20I and ODI series against West Indies. Captain Virat Kohli will be confident that the side can deliver a clinical performance in this opening game of the series.
Jason Holder-led unit will be looking to continue their good form in Test cricket. The side produced exceptional cricket with the bat and ball to beat England in a Test series played at home earlier this season. The opening pair of Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell will need to produce scores and get the side off to good starts in this Test series.
Darren Bravo failed to make an impression in the warm-up game played against India at Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua. Left-hander delivered some crucial performances with the bat for West Indies in the Test series played against England. Shai Hope will need to spend time at the crease and produce big runs for West Indies in this series. Since August 2017, Hope has accumulated 1068 runs in 18 matches at an average of 34.45 with two centuries to his name.
The middle-order trio of Roston Chase, Shimron Hetymer and wicket-keeper Shane Dowrich has shown excellent form for West Indies in the longest format of the game. Since August 2017, Dowrich has been a consistent performer for the side with the bat and scored 875 runs at an average of 32.40 with three centuries to his name. West Indies will be hoping that batting trio can produce runs with the bat against India in the opening game of the Test series.
In the bowling department, the side will be depending on the likes of Kemar Roach, Jason Holder and Shannon Gabriel to make early inroads into India’s star-studded batting lineup. Keemo Paul is a decent all-rounder that will offer value with bat and ball for West Indies.
Jason Holder (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, Shane Dowrich (wk), Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase, John Campbell, Keemo Paul, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach
Kemar Roach, Darren Bravo, Jason Holder, John Campbell, Shimron Hetmyer, Shannon Gabriel, Roston Chase, Shai Hope, Shamarh Brooks, Kraigg Brathwaite, Miguel Cummins
On the other hand, India has produced excellent results in Test cricket since the past couple of years. Despite suffering defeats in South Africa and England, Virat Kohli and co. remained focused and managed to win their maiden Test series in Australia last year.
Indian Skipper Virat Kohli will be hoping that side can maintain their good form in this two-match Test series against West Indies. In the batting department, the side will be depending on the likes of Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane to deliver the bulk of the runs in this game. In the warm-up game, Pujara smashed a century against West Indies A side to see India declare their first innings at 297 for 5 in 88.5 overs. The team management will be hoping that the opening pair of Lokesh Rahul and Mayank Agarwal to deliver runs with the bat in this opening game of the series. The duo failed to get any notable runs in the warm-up game played against West Indies A. Virat Kohli has been India’s premier batsman in the format and topped the batting charts with 1955 runs in 17 matches at an average of 67.41. During this two-year period, Kohli has smashed eight centuries and six half-centuries in Test cricket.
Rohit Sharma and Hanuma Vihari will have to fight it out for a place in the playing XI. Sharma played well and scored a half-century in the warm-up game against West Indies A side. In the bowling department, the onus will be on the pace trio of Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, and Jaspreet Bumrah to provide crucial breakthroughs with the ball in hand. Ravichandran Ashwin will be lone premier spinner for India for this game.
Virat Kohli (captain), Rishabh Pant (wk), Rohit Sharma/Lokesh Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Jaspreet Bumrah, Hanuma Vihari.
Lokesh Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane, Mayank Agarwal, H Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, JJ Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant, Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami
The pitch is expected to offer pace and bounce for the quick bowlers. The batsmen will need to work hard for their runs on this lively surface. The weather forecast for the game to be played on Thursday is expected to have bright sunshine throughout the day. Venue Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound in Antigua is going to host the opening Test between West Indie and India. The home side will take heart from the fact that they have won their last two Test matches at this venue. On the other hand, Virat Kohli and co. also have managed to beat West Indies in a Test series played in 2016.
The side that wins the toss would be looking to bat first and put runs on the board. The quick bowlers will get assistance from the surface with the new-ball.
After analysis of both the squads, India is a superior unit in comparison to West Indies in Test cricket. Virat Kohli’s side has plenty of depth in the batting and bowling department and would be hard to beat in this Test series. Our winning prediction for the day is: Expect India to beat West Indies in the opening Test at Antigua.