India aim for Windies clean sweep
India are looking to keep the pressure on the beleaguered West Indies in the third and final Test of their series starting in Mumbai on Tuesday as they seek to seal a 3-0 series whitewash.cricket Updated: Nov 20, 2011 11:27 IST
India are looking to keep the pressure on the beleaguered West Indies in the third and final Test of their series starting in Mumbai on Tuesday as they seek to seal a 3-0 series whitewash.
The hosts have cantered to a 2-0 lead, winning the opening Test in New Delhi by five wickets and the second in Kolkata by an innings and 15 runs, with a day to spare in both matches.
India, who tour Australia in December, will be pleased with the dominant display of their young bowling attack in the absence of injured paceman Zaheer Khan and axed off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.
Spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha have troubled the West Indies batsmen with their clever variations on slow tracks to claim 13 wickets apiece so far in the series.
Seamer Umesh Yadav, who like off-spinner Ashwin made his Test debut in New Delhi, backed his spinners in Kolkata with a seven-wicket match haul.
Paceman Ishant Sharma is the most experienced bowler in the squad with 40 Tests, while Ojha, Ashwin and Yadav have a combined tally of 17 matches.
"The whole bowling unit looks very balanced," said Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni ahead of the Test at the Wankhede stadium.
"The fast bowlers look fresh, which means they can bowl a lot of overs. The spinners are also bowling in the same way. All of them are fairly fresh and raring to go. They back themselves which is very important in Tests."
India also showed their batting prowess in Kolkata when they posted a mammoth 631-7 declared, with Venkatsai Laxman, Dhoni and Rahul Dravid dominating the West Indies attack with centuries.
Millions of fans are keenly awaiting an unprecedented 100th international hundred from batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar, who has so far scored one half-century in three innings in the series.
India have made one change to their winning squad by bringing batsman Rohit Sharma in place of Yuvraj Singh, who was dropped after making just 66 runs in the three innings.
But Sharma, who is yet to play a Test after figuring in 67 one-day internationals, faces competition from Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane for the number six spot.
The India captain said his team expected a stiff challenge from the West Indies in the final Test, especially after the tourists' second-innings batting performance in the last match, when they scored 463.
"We will try our best (to make it 3-0)," said Dhoni.
"The West Indies are a good side. As you have seen in the second innings, they have talented batsmen. We are expecting a tough match."
Left-hander Darren Bravo showed the way with a sparkling 136, his second hundred in three Tests, while Marlon Samuels, Adrian Barath and Kirk Edwards made half-centuries.
"We will play with a lot of pride and passion. We won't be backing down and we will go out looking for a win," said Bravo.
The West Indies need to put in a sharp bowling performance to test a formidable Indian batting line-up. They looked impressive only in the first innings of the opening Test, when they bowled out India for 209.