Rain in the air, heat on pitch
Dominica is a rare place on Earth, where it rains even under blue skies, like it did on Monday. As India look for a 2-0 series win in the first-ever Test to be played at the Windsor Park Stadium from Wednesday, they may have to face more rain. N Ananthanarayanan reports. Match reckonerUpdated: Jul 06, 2011 01:46 IST
Dominica is a rare place on Earth, where it rains even under blue skies, like it did on Monday. As India look for a 2-0 series win in the first-ever Test to be played at the Windsor Park Stadium from Wednesday, they may have to face more rain.
Showers are forecast for the first three days, and if that happens, it could be another frustrating affair like the drawn second Test in Barbados.
But heat has been generated on another pitch that is expected to help the fast bowlers, at least in the early stages.With Ishant Sharma and Fidel Edwards fit and firing and marshalling their respective attacks, seniors like Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman may again make the difference.
Ishant captured 10 wickets in a Test for the first time at Barbados but is recovering from a cut under the left eye, which he suffered after he collided with new-ball partner Praveen Kumar during a soccer game on Monday.
If India are to win their second series in the Caribbean in a row, the younger batsmen will have to come to the party. Middle-order batsman Suresh Raina has looked solid against short-pitched deliveries after making crucial half-centuries in the first two Tests.
His assurance against pace and bounce could be the turning point for him in the longer version.
The team management will have to take a hard look at opener Murali Vijay, who has made just 22 runs in four innings and succumbed against paceman Ravi Rampaul every time.
Reserve wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel would be really unlucky not to get a look in at the top of the order.
Virat Kohli has also not come to grips with the pace and bounce. His 46 runs include 27 in the second innings in Barbados. The seasoned S Badrinath too has not looked confident as he waits in the wings.
Though Kohli smashed him for a desperate six to get off the mark in the second innings at the Kensington Oval, Edwards, returning in style after two years due to a back injury, feels he is still searching for consistency.
The 29-year-old has been fiery like the West Indies fast bowlers of old, and has hassled batsmen with the short stuff.
"It has been happening for years, and it has been working pretty well for me," he said.
Edwards leads the charts for the hosts with 13 wickets, but feels he can do more.
"I've been bowling a lot better after my first spell. I haven't been consistent in the areas I want. Hopefully, I can get that. I can probably bowl a lot faster, at least in the first spell."
The West Indies' concern has been their batting. They dropped Ramnaresh Sarwan from the squad but opener Lendl Simmons has also struggled. Whether they reshuffle the batting and hand 21-year-old Kieran Powell or Kirk Edwards their Test debut remains to be seen.