IND vs WI: Despite Rishabh Pant poor show, will Wriddhiman Saha make playing XI?
Despite Pant's poor first Test show, senior 'keeper Wriddhiman unlikely to play today's second Test v WI as India not willing to tinker with winning XI
Kingston (Jamaica): Rishabh Pant will be desperate to pay back the faith reposed in him by the team management when India look to steamroll West Indies with another dominant show in the second World Test championship encounter starting today. Having won the first Test by 318 runs, India are runaway favourites going into the second and final match at the Sabina Park against a team that neither showed the resolve nor the aptitude required to put up a sustained fight in five-day cricket.
"The conditions here are good and the pitch also looks good. We are expecting another good performance," bowling coach Bharath Arun said on Wednesday. Jasprit Bumrah (match haul of 6 wickets) and Ishant Sharma (8 wickets) exposed the opposition's technical frailties and they will be gunning for more in the second game. It is unlikely that India will be tinkering with their playing XI after a big win even though Pant's form has been a bit of a concern of late.
Rishabh Pant during the Perth Test against Australia on December 14, 2018. Pic/Getty Images
More than the runs scored, it is the manner of his dismissals that is causing frustration, considering that the Indian cricket establishment has invested heavily in the young wicketkeeper-batsman. His sequence of scores across formats during this current tour has been 0, 4, 65 not out, 20, 0, 24, 7. With veteran Wriddhiman Saha back in the dressing room and the gutsy Kona Bharat waiting in the wings, Pant can ill-afford to take things for granted, especially the kind that one saw in the second innings of the first Test.
The pressure was completely off after India took a handsome lead. What the side required from the flamboyant left-hander was something in the range of a solid 30 not out but what it got instead was another impetuous shot. The slog sweep has brought about his downfall more often than not and save a fifty in the dead rubber in the T20 series, he has done precious little with the bat.
Opener Mayank Agarwal wasn't in his elements either in the first Test but it is expected that he would get another opportunity, which he rightfully deserves having worked hard in Australia. The Indian middle-order performed admirably with Ajinkya Rahane back in form with an under-pressure half-century and a century. Hanuma Vihari also justified his selection with a 93 in the second innings, meaning that Rohit Sharma's wait to make the side could just get a bit longer.The pace bowling was near flawless in the first game with Ishant and Bumrah looking menacing with five-wicket hauls each. Even Mohammed Shami was very effective in short bursts while Ravindra Jadeja proved his utility as an all-rounder.
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