Mumbai: With Virat Kohli’s inclusion in the playing XI more or less certain, a winsome India will take on West Indies with an aim to complete a whitewash in third and the final Test at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday.
The MS Dhoni-led side has hardly set a foot wrong in the series so far as its players have exceeded the expectations in the first two Tests – which they won comfortably – in Delhi and Kolkata.
If their bowlers did the trick of stifling the opposition batsmen at the Kotla, their batsmen joined the party by piling up a total in excess of 600 at Eden Gardens.
While the middle order is amongst runs, the Indian team management would like its openers, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, to convert their starts into big scores.
This match could be a vital test for Kohli, should be play, for he has done exceedingly well in the shorter formats of the game but now needs to show that he has got the wherewithal to perform in whites. The Delhi batsman struggled against short-pitched bowling – twice in five innings did the short stuff end his innings - during his maiden Test tour to the Caribbean, and ahead of the all-important tour of Australia he will need to impress.
Tempting as it may sound, it would be hard to disturb a successful line-up by bringing in Varun Aaron and Rahul Sharma. Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav have troubled the West Indies’ batsmen with both old and new, while the duo of Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin has proven a handful.
West Indies, on the other hand, have shown improved hunger to compete with the hosts, especially in the second innings of the Kolkata Test. They seem to have found a genuine batsman for the No. 3 spot, Kirk Edwards, a right-handed Barbadian who is not only sound in technique but also uses his height to good effect when getting to the pitch of the ball.
Darren Bravo is full of grace in the middle order, and his century in the Eden Test was exemplary. The visitors, who are facing an injury scare of Shivnarine Chanderpaul will hope their most experienced batsman to be fit for the final encounter.
The pace bowlers of both sides will come into picture as the Wankhede track is expected to be a lot livelier than the previous ones.
India: Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Rahul Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron.
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Adrian Barath, Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels, Carlton Baugh, Darren Sammy (captain), Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Denesh Ramdin, Shane Shillingford, Fidel Edwards, Devendra Bishoo.