The series enters the decisive phase in this charming island of rain forests and waterfalls, mountains and volcanoes.
Dominica’s economy is driven by eco-tourism and not sunshine and beaches. The natural beauty of this place would not have been lost on the Indian cricketers.
In such serene settings, India will go for the kill in the third Digicel Test of the three-match series beginning here on Wednesday.
And the West Indies will eye an opportunity to level the score on what is likely to be a bouncy track at the venue in Roseau, Dominica’s capital.
The Indian camp had a pre-match scare though when its in-form paceman Ishant Sharma suffered a cut under his left eye following an accidental bruising physical contact with Praveen Kumar in a game of football during training on Monday.
The injury is not serious and Ishant should be able to lead the Indian pace attack.
It has been raining in these parts and the locals are hoping inclement weather does not ruin the first Test on Dominica’s soil. More showers have been forecast on the first two days of the Test.
The Indians will contemplate a few changes in the eleven. If the experienced Munaf Patel recovers from an elbow injury, he will replace Abhimanyu Mithun who was good one moment and ordinary the next in the second Test.
The out-of-form Murali Vijay has been feeling for deliveries outside the off-stump but the team-management needs to pursue with him at the top of the order.
Cricket is a lot about momentum. When Vijay was left out of the eleven to accommodate a fit-again Gautam Gambhir after notching up a crucial Test hundred against Australia in Bangalore last season, he missed out on an opportunity to consolidate on his good form.
Short of confidence
The game is also much about confidence and Vijay is rather short of this commodity at the moment.
He might have failed to make the cut for England but remains among India’s best batting prospects.
He has the defence, the strokes and temperament. Vijay nows needs to put all the elements together.
Technically, he does not seem as balanced in his stance and appears to be falling over slightly. Consequently, his bat is not coming down as straight as it used to and his left shoulder does not lead the way.
The introspective Vijay should extricate himself from the slump and this is the time when the think-tank requires to back him.
The team-management’s handling of S. Badrinath has been puzzling. At the start of the tour, he was a front-runner for one of the two middle-order slots that were up for grabs.
A few failures in ODIs should not have been allowed to cloud judgment in the longer version; the solid Badrinath is the strongest flank. It would indeed be sad if this quintessential team-man does not receive a chance in any of the three Tests here.
Virat Kohli has looked unconvincing against well-directed and rather hostile short-pitched bowling from Fidel Edwards.
He was just not getting into the right positions and was fortunate not to be dismissed at the beginning of his second innings at the Kensington Oval.
The West Indies, that finds itself in a must-win situation, will contemplate playing an extra bowler in the speedy Kemar Roach.
Ramnaresh Sarwan, so short of belief that his sparkling feet movement has given way to caught-at-the-crease dismissals, is no longer a part of the squad.
The young Kieran Powell could well replace Lendl Simmons creating a spot for the additional bowler in the side.
In any case, the extra batsman has not made any difference to the West Indian fortunes in the series.
Roach will add to Edward’s bounce and reverse swing and the consistency and movement of Ravi Rampaul.
If the West Indian batting holds firm, we might witness another gripping Test on another pitch that tests a batsman’s skill.
The teams (from):
India: M.S. Dhoni (captain), M. Vijay, A. Mukund, R. Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman, S. Raina, V. Kohli, S. Badrinath, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, M. Patel, A. Mishra, P. Patel, P. Ojha and A. Mithun.
West Indies: D. Sammy (captain), L. Simmons, K. Powell, A. Barath, D. Bravo, S. Chanderpaul, M. Samuels, C. Baugh, R. Rampaul, D. Bishoo, F. Edwards, K. Roach and K. Edwards.
Match starts at 7.30 p.m. IST. Hindu