Hyderabad: One team is flying high in the sky; the other is sinking, clutching at straws. It’s a pity that the two set out to contest another game of cricketat the highest level on Friday. The second of the India-West Indies Tests promises to be no different from the first — a mismatch.
After the royal drubbing at Rajkot, the West Indians have no place to hide even as the hosts prepare for another round of exposure at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium. The three-day result in the first game was poor advertisement for Tests and it is unlikely that the second one too will last the distance.
This West Indian team have a long way to go before they are up for Test challenge. No teeth in the attack, evident from the mountain of runs India piled in the only innings they batted at Rajkot; batting blues that threaten to blow up in the face and an overall downcast morale must be dragging the visitors down even as they put up brave fronts at pre-match pressers.
That they could barely survive 50 overs in the first Test — getting bowled out in 48 and 50.5 overs in the two essays respectively to go down by an innings and 272 runs — is evidence that the Caribbeans lack application andare not quite up to the task. Kieran Powell (83), Roston Chase (53) and Keemo Paul (47) are the only batsmen who have been among runs. The rest appeared as if they were on a ramp.
On the other hand, with three centuries and two other misses in a gigantic total of 649 for 9, India are on a batting high even as the West Indians would be wincing at rival batting coach Bharat Arun’s line during an interaction with reporters on Wednesday — “we are looking to improve on our performance.”
Ajinkya Rahane must be wondering why he couldn’t join the run feast at Rajkot and would be itching to make amends and hit the right notes to get back into his groove. Opener K. L. Rahul will also be thinking on similar lines.
The likely return of captain Jason Holder from an ankle injury and fast bowler Kemar Roach provides some solace to the visiting side in the bowling department, but they hardly have any space to turn the two-match series around.
Keen to wash Windies clean and take the trophy with an emphatic 2-0 scoreline India are set to go into the match with an unchanged XI and blast off, launching themselves into a different orbit....