India look to wrap up series at Windsor Park debut


India head into Wednesday’s third Test against the West Indies – and the inaugural Test at Windsor Park – looking to close out a series that they have dominated.
The Indians, who are ranked the top Test side in the world, lead the series 1-0 after winning the first Test by 63 runs inside four days at Sabina Park in Jamaica. They also had the better part of the rain-hit second Test in Barbados which finished in a draw.
Logic suggests that their greater experience with bat and ball will see them complete a Test and one-day series double but the two unknowns remain the weather – it is hurricane season – and the pitch. Windsor Park, located on the eastern side of the Dominica capital, provides the backdrop for the contest.
The ground, which was redeveloped six years ago at a cost of US $17 million borne by the Chinese government, will become the 12th Test venue in the Caribbean, and 106th worldwide.
As for the pitch, the jury is still out. When the Windward Islands hosted the England Lions in a West Indies domestic first-class match earlier this year, there was plenty of pace and bounce – something which may appeal to Fidel Edwards who was the stand-out bowler for the West Indies in Barbados.
“I won’t say I am back to my best but I have been taking wickets and it’s wickets that the team needs,” said Edwards.
However, Gary Mathurin of Windwards and Danny Briggs of the Lions also shared 19 of the 39 wickets which suggests that there may also be a little in it for the spinners.
And that is bound to have Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh licking his lips, the “Turbanator” needing just two wickets to reach 400 in Test cricket.
He would be the 11th player to pass the milestone and third Indian after Kapil Dev and Anil Kumble.
India could drop opener Murali Vijay, just 22 runs in the series, and middleman Virat Kohli, who has only made 46, with Parthiv Patel and Subramaniam Badrinath coming into the side.
Ishant Sharma will be fit to lead the bowling attack in spite of sustaining a gash under his left eye after a training ground collision with new-ball partner Praveen Kumar.
The West Indies have dropped Ramnaresh Sarwan – just 49 runs from four innings – and have brought uncapped left-handed opener Kieran Powell into the squad. He may have to carry the drinks, though, if the selectors decide to bring in Kirk Edwards for his Test debut.
West Indies (from): Darren Sammy (capt), Adrian Barath, Carlton Baugh Jr, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Fidel Edwards, Kirk Edwards, Kieran Powell, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons
India (from): Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), V.V.S. Laxman, Subramaniam Badrinath, Rahul Dravid, Harbhajan Singh, Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Amit Mishra, Abhimanyu Mithun, Abhinav Mukund, Pragyan Ojha, Munaf Patel, Parthiv Patel, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma, Murali Vijay
Umpires: Asad Rauf (PAK), Richard Kettleborough (ENG)
TV umpire: Joel Wilson (WIS)
Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)
Reserve umpire: Norman Malcolm (WIS)