The first test, scheduled from 04th – 08th October at Rajkot, will mark the beginning of seven-week series between India and West Indies involving two tests, five ODIs and three T20Is. Notwithstanding the rankings of the two teams – India topping the ICC Test rankings while West Indies languishing at number eight – the contest is expected to be an exciting one. The hosts would be keen to get back to winning ways after a miserable run in England and keep their dominance intact in the longer version of the game. On the other hand, the visitors, who are yet win a test series against India in the past 16 years, will look to set the record straight.
India has preferred fielding a relatively young side with inclusions like Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, KL Rahul, Shardul Thakur, and the talented Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal who are likely to earn their test caps. The young lot is complemented by test staples like skipper Kohli, Pujara, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Ajinkya Rahane. On the other hand, the Caribbean team, led by Jason Holder, is constituted by less known faces, including Sunil Ambris, Jahmar Hamilton, Sherman Lewis, Shannon Gabriel, and Shai Hope et.al. Evidently, the Windies are short of experience, which may prove detrimental to their cause.
Pitch and Weather:
The Rajkot pitch has a reputation for being a batting paradise, and it won’t be any different this time round too. In fact, Indian regulars – Pujara and Jadeja – have amassed triple hundreds at this venue in their domestic fixtures at different points in time. However, the pitch is expected to turn as the game progresses, so, don’t be surprised if both teams go with 3 spinners. The weather will be sunny with temperature touching 35 degree Celsius and moisture level not exceeding 64 percent. With no rain to play the spoilsport, a full day action is anticipated.
|Match||India vs Windies, 1st Test|
|Match days||4,5,6,7,8 October 2018 (5-day match)|
|Time||04:00 AM GMT / 09:30 AM LOCAL|
|Venue||Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot|
|Match number||Test no. 2319|
|Umpires||Ian Gould, Nigel Llong|
|TV Umpires||Bruce Oxenford|
|Match Referee||Chris Broad|
India has always been a formidable unit in home conditions, making them an outright favorite here too. They have the batting prowess to rake in massive totals, and the firepower in the bowling, despite the absence of Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar, to bowl out the opposition twice in a test match on tailor made pitches. Contrarily, the current West Indian team lacks experience, genuine match-winners and the passion and flair, which was a hallmark of the previous teams. Add to it their vulnerability to negotiate quality spin – the chances are lean for the visitors.