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India were expected to make early inroads in the first of the five-match ODI series against West Indies. They were on course for a big score with Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni batting in the 40th over of the series opener. Nonetheless, persistent rains ruled out any further play and both teams went to the second encounter in a bid to take a lead. India were rightly touted as favourites and outplayed the hosts with ease. An all-round performance, coupled by tame surrender from West Indies, meant India take a predictable 1-0 lead. The third ODI will be another chance for the tourists to maintain momentum, whereas hosts will have their task cut out to level the series.

Will tourists dare to make bold changes?

India have been at par in all departments. The pitch has assistance for the batsmen if they apply themselves. Indian openers, Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan, have made full use of the opportunity amidst lack of wicket-taking deliveries by the opposition. Kohli is in sublime touch as well. However, India’s lower middle-order have not got a long run with the bat. Yuvraj Singh’s twin failures and MS Dhoni’s inability to clear the ropes in the last encounter surely sparks debate over their dwindling firepower. Will Rishabh Pant get included at stake of the ‘senior pros’? Will he get a maiden cap and make way for Yuvraj?

Dhoni has built a reputation which was enjoyed by Sachin Tendulkar in the twilight of his career. No one can pose a threat to his place, but off late, his power hitting has been in question. On the other hand, Yuvraj has struggled with consistency. His last good knock came in the tournament-opener of ICC Champions Trophy against Pakistan. Pant is a part of the squad and the team management would be itching to try him out in the forthcoming matches.

The bowling department looks polished to handle a lacklustre opposition in West Indies. Nonetheless, Mohammed Shami has been warming the benches for long and may get a look-in the third ODI. How about giving Bhuvneshwar Kumar a rest and adding Shami in place of him? It will test the Indian pacers’ ability to pick early wickets as well.

It all boils down to the team think-tank. Will they tinker with the winning combination or test their benched players? Playing against a No. 9 ranked side, India should be bold enough to make chances and build on the road ahead.

Here’s a sneak peek into Kohli’s mindset– “We ll sit down and decide as a team about changes that can be made (when asked about Pant). We ll go to Antigua and regroup, and that s a possibility as well, give a few guys an opportunity”, stated the skipper after the 2nd ODI.

West Indies call in new faces:

West Indies have problems aplenty. They lack steam to run through India’s heavy batting line-up. They also need their batsmen to take more responsibility in the middle. Shai Hope is in good touch, but no other batsmen showed resistance in the previous clash. The likes of Evin Lewis, Roston Chase, Jason Mohammed and Jason Holder need to bat for longer periods.

Hosts have made few changes for the remaining matches. Jonathan Carter and Kesrick Williams have been replaced by two fresh faces Kyle Hope and Sunil Ambris. “Sunil Ambris and Kyle Hope are two very promising young batsmen who have been selected on the basis of strong performances in our competitions, Courtney Browne, Cricket West Indies chairman of selectors, was quoted as saying by PTI.

“Kyle opened on our last A team one-day tour to Sri Lanka and had some very good performances. In addition, he also had a good showing opening the batting for the Trinidad & Tobago Red Force franchise in this year s PCL competition. Sunil did well in our Regional Super50 One-Day tournament and also had a good showing in this year s PCL first-class tournament for Windward Islands Volcanoes, and therefore will fit within our middle order. They will be up against a good Indian team and they have an opportunity to show their skills and contribute to a stronger team performance”, added Browne.

Holder’s side will be hoping for a turnaround courtesy some fresh faces and a much-improved performance.

West Indies have a lot of catching up to do in order to spring a surprise. Firstly, they will have to inject more firepower with the new ball. The idea should be to take wickets and not contain runs in the middle overs. They also need a good death bowler; unlike Holder who conceded 20 runs and failed to complete the final over courtesy two beamers. Lastly, they may also dwell upon rearranging their top order with batsmen holding their ends and scoring big. Looks like a lost cause already!

Likely XI (India): Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli (c), Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav

Likely XI (West Indies): Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Jason Mohammed, Kyle Hope, Roston Chase, Sunil Ambris/Kieron Powell, Jason Holder (c), Ashley Nurse, Devendra Bishoo, Miguel Cummins, Alzarri Joseph

Weather updates:


India: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Yuvraj Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Dinesh Karthik

West Indies: Jason Holder (c), Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Kieran Powell, Rovman Powell

Time: 09:00 local | 13:00 GMT | 18:30 IST