Shai Hope scored a hundred in one of the tour matches against India © Getty Images
Shai Hope scored a hundred in one of the tour matches against India © Getty Images

West Indies fought well to save the second Test at Kingston. Roston Chase carried forward his brilliant form from the domestic circuit into the international arena. He not only scored a match-winning century, but also chipped in with a five-wicket haul in the first innings. West Indies have included Shai Hope ahead of the third Test in pace of misfiring Rajendra Chandrika, which gives West Indies a better looking batting line-up. Hope scored a century in warm-up match against India and it was surprising not to see him in the squad for the Test series.  Despite of their draw, West Indies have their task cut out if they are to level the series in the third Test at St Lucia. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs West Indies, 3rd Test at St Lucia

Current Form (D L D L L): West Indies are yet to win a match under the leadership of Jason Holder. Their draw in the second Test was nothing short of a win, but the weather too helped them as close to 100 overs were washed out. Their top-order has not been in particularly good form. Experienced players like Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels are yet to fire in this series and batting. India vs West Indies 3rd Test,  Preview and Predictions

West Indies have not won a Test since their five-wicket win against England at Bridgetown, Barbados in May 2015. They have played nine Tests since then, losing seven and drawing a couple. That will not give them much confidence, but they will have to dig deep and take as many positives as possible from the previous Test.

However they have found new heroes in Shane Dowrich, Chase and also Jermaine Blackwood. Kraigg Brathwaite has been solid opening the innings, but barring his 74 in the first Test, he has not done anything significant. He will have Hope as his new opening partner, which should give him and the team a major boost. ALSO READ: Dhawan relishing healthy competition for opening slot

Weak bowling attack: India have plundered 500 runs in each of the two innings they have played in the series so far, which says a lot about West Indies’ bowling attack. Yes, India have world class batsmen like Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and KL Rahul to name a few, but it has often been the case where the batsmen playing poor shots to get out, rather than the bowler earning them.

The retirement of Jerome Taylor ahead of the series was a huge blow for West Indies. Shannon Gabriel, who had played just 17 Tests before the series was now the mist experienced bowler and became the leader of the pack. He has been one of their better fast bowlers, but with very less support from the other end, West Indies have often struggled to get breakthroughs.

Spinners Devendra Bishoo and Chase have 9 wickets between them this series out of the 17 wickets picked up by the West Indies bowlers. Part-timer off-spinner Brathwaite too has three wickets to his name – taking the tally to 12. Unlike India, West Indies do not have a third spinner in their squad and will have to make do with a few part-timers.  But their fast bowlers will have to step up.

Positives:  The lower-order batsmen have done very well in the series so far. Their achievement looks all the more significant, considering the top-order’s failure to deliver. Tail-enders like Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite, Miguel Cummins and Gabriel have at various stages in the series shown that they are no mugs with the bat. But they will be impressed with the way Shane Dowrich has contributed with the bat. He was selected in pace of Denesh Ramdin and has totally justified his place in the team so far. He scored a gritty 57in the first Test and his free-flowing 74 in the second Test went a long way in helping West Indies saving the game. West Indies will once again want him to deliver. ALSO READ: Shami supports Kohli’s theory of 5 bowlers vs West Indies

Opportunities: West Indies will want their senior batsmen Samuels and Bravo score big. Bravo has scored just 41 in 4 innings, while Samuels, courtesy of a fifty has managed to score 88 runs this series so far. These are the two players, who need to score big hundreds to take West Indies to a good position. Bravo has often been troubled by short deliveries and Samuels’ tendencies to poke outside off has gotten him into trouble often. Also this is an excellent opportunity for Hope to score big and cement his position as West Indies’ first-choice opener. Hope does not have great numbers to boast about, then again Chandrika too was by no stretch of imagination a treat to watch.

Upset on the cards? West Indies may have the slightest of momentum, but it looks highly unlikely that they can do much to stop a rampant Indian side. Kohli-led India have been in good form and with the bench strength at their disposal, they are prepared for any sort of conditions in the Caribbean. West Indies’ first task however will be to bowl India out at least once in this series.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at Cricketcountry.com. He is a sport enthusiast and a keen observer of cricket, the contests, and its personalities. When not tracking cricket, he follows the world’s soccer leagues and is somewhat partial towards Liverpool. His Twitter handle is @pramz)