India v West Indies, 2nd Test, stats preview: From KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane's poor form to West Indies' bowling woes in India
India completely dethroned Windies in the first Test at Rajkot in all the three departments of the game. There was a clear daylight between both the teams. India are aware of the fact that if West Indies batsmen cannot play well again then it will be a walk in the park for them in the second Test, too, which will further enable them to try out few options before their last big series of the year begins.
India have to sort out two big issues immediately as KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane, both are not in-form currently. India may think of dropping one of them and play Mayank Agarwal who is in some tremendous form in the recent times in the domestic cricket. They can also rest Cheteshwar Pujara to include Mayank in the XI. However, Pujara only plays one format and Kohli is coming back after some rest, so Mayank Agarwal can only be included in the XI if India go with six batsmen. This scenario looks highly unlikely.
Moreover, Bharath Arun, India's bowling coach recently stated that Rahul is somebody that they want to persist with which further clarifies that Bengaluru-born batsman is getting a long rope.
The second Test at Hyderabad will be do-or-die for India's vice-captain Rahane, too. However, he showed glimpses of coming back in-form in the first Test by scoring 41 runs. He has only scored two fifties in the last one year in the longest version of the game. Hanuma Vihari will also push his case if Rahane does not do well at Hyderabad after scoring fifty in difficult conditions on debut.
West Indies have been bowled out under 250 runs in each innings since 2013 that they played in India. Their highest score is 234. They played some bad shots and paid the price. "Going forward what we need to do is along with the attacking shots, trust in defence. I think that's the key. Obviously when the field goes back, it's a matter of still staying positive, and putting away the bad balls, stroking the ball along the ground for singles. I think we didn't trust our defence as much as we should have," Kraig Brathwaite stated after the first Test.
Moreover, WI have an inexperienced bowling lineup which hurt them in the first Test and their record in India in the last 10 years is also poor as compared to other teams so it will be intriguing to see whether they will make any changes in their bowling department or not in Hyderabad.
On the other hand, Virat Kohli has continued his red hot form in this year in the whites as he became the first batsman to complete the landmark of completing 1,000 runs in 2018 during the first Test. The second highest run-getter in this year in Tests is 299 runs behind him and no other Indian batsman has amassed 500-plus runs in Tests than Kohli this year which further shows India's reliance on him but in home conditions and with the weaker opposition, India can control the game even if he has an odd failure.
There is a chance for Windies batsmen to make something out of the series or Indian spin trio will once again get the triumph, it will be intriguing to see.