The third and final ODI of India’s tour of the Caribbean will be played on Wednesday, 14 August, and as far as the visitors are concerned, they’re right where they want to be. They have a 1-0 lead, and even if they lose the match, they won’t lose the series.
That said, victory will be prominent in the minds of the Indians. They had a decent World Cup, but still fell below expectations, and with problems still remaining to sort – the No.4 issue being one of them – chances are these ODIs will be used to do just that.
India’s bowlers have been on song. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has found his rhythm and was unplayable in the second ODI, while Virat Kohli has returned to century-making form, scoring his first ton since March to help India to a victory. However, perhaps the biggest positive was the performance of Shreyas Iyer.
The Mumbai batsman scored a half-century after coming in at No.5, scoring at a healthy rate even without regularly finding the fence. That’s a healthy skill to possess for a No.4 batsman, and it remains to be seen if India push him up spot, and use Rishabh Pant, who underwhelmed at four, for his big-hitting abilities at five.
As far as West Indies are concerned, they need a win. They had a disappointing World Cup, and captain Jason Holder has spoken of the need for their batsmen to come good. Chris Gayle is now the record ODI scorer for West Indies, but he has had a poor series so far, while apart from Evin Lewis and Nicholas Pooran, none of the other batsmen have really stood out.
It’s high time they performed.
Head to head
Their impressive form against West Indies over the last few years has helped India inch close to parity in their head-to-head record – West Indies have won 62 of their 129 ODIs, with India claiming 61 wins. Of 17 matches in the last five years, India have won 11, with West Indies managing just three wins. In their last five matches, West Indies have failed to beat India.
Evin Lewis (West Indies): After a poor T20I series, when he was dismissed for consecutive ducks, Evin Lewis has come good in the ODIs. In the washed out first ODI, he managed to score a quick 40*, and in the second, his 65 kept West Indies in the chase till the middle order unravelled. He will be key to a falter line-up’s hopes.
Shreyas Iyer (India): Iyer seems to be perfect for India’s No.4 position, but the management seems to be keen to play Rishabh Pant in that slot. Iyer, however, has impressed at No.5, scoring a crucial 71 in the second ODI, and if he keeps that up, he might well be promoted up the order.
West Indies: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope (wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Roston Chase, Jason Holder (c), Carlos Brathwaite, Kemar Roach, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed
India to ease to another win to seal the series.