हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

Team India hope to break the jinx in third Test

Published: Wednesday, June 21, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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St Kitts:After two near-misses, the Indians would be hoping to be third-time lucky when they take on a spirited West Indies on what looks like a green top in the third Test beginning here tomorrow.

Both in Antigua and St Lucia, the visitors were on the brink of victory but on both the occasions, they failed to deliver the decisive blow.

Past, however, is a different country and rejuvenated after a week-long break, Rahul Dravid's men would be determined to have their cake and eat it too.

The pitch at the Basseterre stadium here might well force India to stick to the bowling combination of three seamers and a spinner in the third Test too which means Habhajan Singh will again be warming the bench as part-time offie Virender Sehwag is doing a reasonable job as the fifth bowler.

Indian skipper Rahul Dravid had a hard look at the pitch for almost 20 minutes checking the various areas and gently knocking it for hardness. The pitch has fair bit of grass on it and promises to live up to West Indies' skipper Brian Lara's expectation of a ''fair'' pitch.

Dravid would wait for another day to have one more look to make a decision on the playing combination. But as it appeared from a brief chat with media, Rahul is not keen on making changes in the bowling combination.

''Four bowlers did the job for us in the last game. But we will have a look at the pitch tomorrow and then decide on right combination. Ideal scenario is five bowlers, but Sehwag has been doing well and that adds extra string to our bowling,'' said Dravid.

Indian team management might as well wait to have a proper reading of the pitch because even the ICC pitch consultant Andy Atkinson who is in charge of the pitch here believes some of the grass on the pitch has to go.

''I would shave a little of grass on top but yes there would be definitely something for the seamers in it,'' said Atkinson.

In case India persist with one spinner, Harbhajan Singh might again have to sit out for third test in a row. Dravid feels Sehwag has rolled his arm with distinction and there is a big role for his off-breaks.

''He has bowled very well, important thing is that he maintains his consistency. Like Chris Gayle for the West Indies he too can be a reliever for our bowling,'' said Dravid.In case India decide to stick with four bowlers, the lone change that the team would be considering is playing fit S Sreesanth for V R V Singh. Playing two spinners at the cost of a seamer looks higly unlikely on this green top. The batting department remains untouched with both V V S Laxman and Yuvraj Singh likley to get another game. Dravid also said that all the bowlers were fit to play in the next match and this offers him a ''happy headache''.

''It is nice to have seven bowlers to chose from rather than five in the last game. The four seamers have all done a good job so far.

Munaf (Patel) has bowled very well in the series, Sreesanth have bowled good spells and V R V has showed promise too. Irfan has also come back well. Unfortunately we can pick only eleven guys from the 16s some have to be left out,'' said the Indian skipper.

Dravid also said that the break has done a world of good to him as well as whole of the team. ''It was good to have break. It has given us four-five days to recover from injuries. Personally it was good to switch off. As captain I am always thinking about toss or team etc, good that I got time to spend with my family,'' said Dravid.

Meanwhile West Indies face problems of their own a members of the team have given the West Indies board until today to settle matters related to their contracts or face some kind of industrial action.

The West Indies players are without a retainer or tour contract for the current series against the Indians. Skipper Brian Lara's call for somewhat green pitch has been met by Andy Atkinson who has sprinkled the top with lots of grass. Even though Atkinson says some of this grass will be shaved off before the start of play, the pitch promises assisting the seamers.

But the West Indies selectors didn't provide Lara with an extra pacer that he asked for after the second Test, instead Lara has Marlon Samuels in the squad who can bowl off-breaks.

Lara has to go with largely the same seam attack that operated in St Lucia. Pedro Collins bowled with a lot of pace and has to really make up for the absence of his influential brother Fidel Edwards. Correy Collymore is getting fully fit and this is a good sign for the West Indies.

This is the first time a Test match is played here on this ground and Brian Lara would like to sign in with his usual style of a big score. West Indies batting has been lesser concern in the two tests so far with Lara, Gayle and Chanderpaul in the midst of runs.

However second opener has been a problem, as has been Sarwan who has not been the same prolific scorer that he was in the One-day series that just preceded the Test matches.

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