Kingston, June 20:So what will Sabina Park hold for India? Bounce. India's perpetual problems with the key feature of a fast wicket has been documented time and again at this premier Jamaican venue. Indeed, in the 10 Tests played against West Indies here, in a span of 6 decades, India have managed to force just one win . The hosts meanwhile, have come out tops on six occasions with one draw.
Granted, India no longer have to contend with greased lightening pace of the likes of Malcolm Marshal, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner nor Courtney Walsh and Curtley Ambrose. But even the present stock of second-rate fast bowlers could prove quite a handful at this ground. Andre Russell sounded out a warning knell when he took 4/35 in the last one-dayer against India. Now he and his seamer comrades in Kemar Roach, Ravi Rampaul and Lendl Simmons, will be raring to have another go at India on this pitch.
India in the meantime, should glean inspiration from their last Test encounter here, which unfolded in 2006. The Rahul Dravid-led side didn't look like it was capable of winning this, the fourth and final Test of the series. The visitors had come of three drawn games and managed to put on just 200 in the first innings of the final Test with Dravid (81) and Kumle (45) making the bulk of the runs. But then Harbhajan Singh turned the match around in India's favour, taking 5/13 in 4.3 overs to help bundle out the Windies for a paltry 103.
However, the Windies once again wrested the initiative as Jerome Taylor and Corey Collimore took 9 wickets between them. India were thus bowled out for 171, leaving the Windies with a target of 269. Such a total seemed quite gettable... had it not been for the shrewd machinations of a certain Anil Kumble who destroyed the Windies with figures of 6/78. The hosts thus folded for 219, handing India a match and series victory of 49 runs.
But now the team composition of both sides is quite different. Two out of three Indians that topped the run-chart of the 2006 tour are not in the present Indian squad - Wasim Jaffer and Virender Sehwag. Meanwhile, VVS Laxman just scrapped together an average of 36.71 on the previous trip to the Caribbean. For the Windies' the transformation of their make up has been even greater. Only Shivnarine Chanderpaul adn Ramnaresh Sarwan are the two remaining veterans in the side.
But the present Windies' side has shown that they are no push-overs going by their Test win over Pakistan last month. So, India will have to stay on guard for an all-out Windies' assault.