Debuts likely for Sinclair, McKenzie as West Indies eye fightback against India

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It’s a historic occasion. The second Test between West Indies and India, in Port-of-Spain, will be the 100th Test between the two teams. Of the 99 played so far, West Indies have won 30 and India 23, while 46 have been draws.

In the last 21 years, however, West Indies have not managed a single win against India. Their previous victory came in 2002, when Yashasvi Jaiswal, the Player of the Match in the first Test of the current series, was not even five months old.

Since then, the two sides have met 24 times, with India winning on 15 occasions and drawing on the other nine. Given how the first Test went – India winning by an innings and 141 runs – West Indies will have to put in a serious effort to end that streak.

Having said that, this could be one of their better chances to do so. The pitch at the Queen’s Park Oval has been, traditionally, conducive to fast bowling, and West Indies have a far more experienced seam-bowling attack in this series.

Neither West Indies nor India play another Test for the next five months at least. So both teams will be looking to make the most of this opportunity, apart from pocketing some World Test Championship points.

West Indies will seek stability with the bat, and India will hope that Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan spend considerable time in the middle.

In Dominica, Athanaze was impressive on a pitch that offered turn and bounce to spinners•Associated Press

Team news

With Raymon Reifer out of the squad, left-hand batter Kirk McKenzie could be in line for a debut. West Indies may also be tempted to bring in Shannon Gabriel for either Jomel Warrican or Rahkeem Cornwall.

Meanwhile, uncapped off-spin-bowling allrounder Kevin Sinclair will be as a like-for-like replacement for Cornwall, who is yet to recover from his chest infection fully.

Pitch and conditions

While the Queen’s Park Oval has not hosted a Test since 2018, fast bowlers have always enjoyed the conditions here, registering a much better average (27.39) and strike rate (61.0) as compared to spinners (36.57 and 88.7). Rain is forecast on all five days of the Test, though.

FULL SQUAD: Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain), Jermaine Blackwood (Vice Captain), Alick Athanaze, Tagenarine Chanderpaul Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Kirk McKenzie, Kemar Roach, Kevin Sinclair, Jomel Warrican

Traveling Reserves: Tevin Imlach, Akeem Jordan

India’s Test squad: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), KS Bharat (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Navdeep Saini.

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