Pant and Hope the men to follow

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India v West Indies
Friday 11 February, 08:00
TV: live on Sky Sports

India could make changes

India have an unassailable 2-0 lead after another relatively easy outing at Ahmedabad on Wednesday. The series has been disappointingly uncompetitive.

Despite being made to work hard – perhaps too hard – for their first-innings score of 237 for nine. It seemed under par. But not with their bowling attack. Or rather West Indies’ batting line-up.

Prasidh Krishna took four wickets and he has been a real find, particularly for those who don’t care about short study period for top bowler honours. It’s four wins now in five games.

India could experiment if they wished. Mayank Agarwal might be in for a game after India tried Rishabh Pant in the opening slot. Spinner Kuldeep Yadav may also get a game.

Possible XI: Rohit, Agarwal, Kohli, Pant, Rahul, Yadav, Thakur, Kuldeep, Krishna, Chahal, Siraj

Windies disappoint

West Indies have been a letdown. No-one expected them to be 2-0 up at this stage but it should not have been a forlorn hope that they take a game deep. They have failed to do so.

Their batting has been razed in successive games. The game was up at 76 for five in a hardly astronomical or high-pressure chase last time. We note the late flurry of runs with the game lost from the likes of Akeal Hosein and Odean Smith as a pointer for top-bats. But more on that later.

Batter Nkrumah Bonner is a potential replacement for Darren Bravo while Hayden Walsh Jnr might get a game instead of Fabian Allen.

Possible XI: Hope, King, Bonner, Pooran, Brooks, Pollard, Holder, Hosein, Joseph, Roach, Walsh

Pitch report

The pitch is tricky to call at Ahmedabad. West Indies have twice looked at all at sea, particularly in the first match when they could manage only 176. India chased that with consummate ease suggesting there were two different surfaces at play.

Perhaps the major factor was pressure because India just never got going when it was their turn to bat first. Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Pant were all wading through treacle.

The best strategy is to keep faith in West Indies flopping with the bat. Going low on their runs par line of they bat first at around the 240 mark is fine.

Small trade hope

India are 1.222/9 with West Indies 5.309/2 There’s really not much fun to be had at such prices. But if you want to play, there seems only one way to do so.

If India bat first, hope that we see another sticky wicket. West Indies’ tyro Alzarri Joseph is capable of giving India’s line-up the heebie-jeebies and he is a proven wicket-taker in ODI. Kemar Roach can probably be relied upon to keep things tight.

With a couple of early inroads a back-to-lay is on. The visitors may shorten up to the 3.002/1 mark with two pinched out early.

Tops value

There are two wagers to have on the top-bat market but for different reasons. rest assured, though, they are both value so there can be no hard feelings if neither cop.

First up regular readers will not be surprised of the selection of Shai Hope for top Windies bat at 5.04/1. We know Hope is one of the most consistent winners in the world and although it’s two blanks, the price is wrong on how often he wins.

Next is Pant. This is purely a bet on the fact that he opened last time and Sportsbook go 6.05/1. That’s a major risk. It’s not that bad a wager on actual win rate when he is in the middle-order but we couldn’t claim an edge on the latter strategy. Bet these markets here.

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