Our cricket writer previews the fourth and final Test between the West Indies and India taking place in Port of Spain.
Having already wrapped up the series with two massive wins and a rain-affected draw, India will be looking to put the icing on the cake with another thumping win over the West Indies in the final Test at the Queen’s Park Oval.
Will India’s dominance continue or can the West Indies bounce back and reclaim a bit of pride? We’ll take a look below:
To Win Match
West Indies 7/1 | Draw 47/20 | India 53/100
West Indies vs India | 18 August – 22 August | Queen’s Park Oval | Port of Spain
Where to now for the West Indies? Honestly, I don’t know. I’m so used to celebrating the fallen giants of the sporting world – think Manchester United and the Australian team of the late 90s / early 2000s. That said, I simply can’t take any joy in seeing the men from the Caribbean struggle in Test cricket.
For a nation (or a group of nations) that contributed so much to the game, it’s sad to see them in the state they’re in at the moment. I actually had reasonably high hopes for Jason Holder and his men coming into this series too. Don’t get me wrong, I never once thought they’d win the series; but I thought that they’d at least be able to grab a win – and they still have a chance to do that, albeit a very slim chance.
While their bowling has been as competent as you’d expect against a very strong Indian batting line-up, it’s their batting that has let them down immensely once again this series. Roston Chase has top scored for the West Indians with 190 runs in six innings. He finds himself behind the likes of Ravi Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha. That statistic alone tells a story: the men from the Caribbean simply haven’t scored enough runs to compete with their Asian counterparts.
Chase has impressed with the ball in hand along with Miguel Cummins. The two have claimed a combined of 17 wickets in the three matches so far. Not a bad return for two bowlers who have limited experience at this level playing against one of the best batting units in world cricket.
While I’m not sure how the squad will look come the commencement of play, I’m sure that the XI that takes to the field will be desperately keen to stop the rot and claim at least one win in the series. Whether or not they’ll be able to get that win against a team that is vying for the number one Test spot remains to be seen.
This final Test should be something of a formality for the Indians who have been far superior in every single department. Virat Kohli and his men should have very little trouble getting past a young and naïve West Indian unit.
One man who has impressed with his all-round performances has been Ravichandran Ashwin. The off-spinner has underlined his credentials as one of the planet’s premier all-rounders with his performances in the series which include 16 wickets (two five-wicket hauls) and 235 runs including two centuries. He looks to have pretty much wrapped up the man of the series accolade with a match to go.
While the Indian management will be tempted to rotate their squad, I don’t think they’ll be taking any chances after Sri Lanka completed the 3-0 whitewash over the current top-ranked Test side, Australia. A win for the Indians will seem them leap-frog Steve Smith’s men into first place on the rankings.
So we’re likely to see the likes of Ashwin, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara all get starts. This is bad news for a West Indian side who have struggled to cope with the quality of the Indians so far.
Verdict: India 53/100
There’s actually a boatload of value here. The Indians are the better side in every single department and should be backed with a fairly large stake.
Value Bet: Jason Holder to top score for the West Indies (1st inn) at 20/1
I love this bet and I take it pretty much every time the West Indies play a Test. He bats low down the order and almost always comes in a lot earlier than he would like. He’s a quality batsman and has dragged his side out of some pretty embarrassing situations in the past. He’s good value here at 20/1.
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.