Bridgetown, June 28: Even though India go into the second Test against the West Indies of the ongoing tour as favourites, the odds of a series victory stack up pretty high. India have never won two Tests on the trot in the Caribbean and have been trounced 7 out of 8 times at this Barbados ground. Indeed, the visitors memories at this venue are far from sweet. Back in 1997, they had the Windies on the mat requiring just 120 to win, but were shot out for mere 81, in what turned out to be the decisive match of the series.
The present West Indies team will go into this encounter with an exaggerated hope to turn the tables on India and level the series. The hosts are still capable of pulling off a win as they showed against Pakistan last month. And in the first Test against India, the Windies demonstrated flashes of brilliance, pinning India to the wall at 85/6, only to let the visitors off the hook. They will now be looking to not only rip through India's brittle and inexperienced top-order again, but disallow the plucky tail from wagging once more.
Conditions at Sabina Park were seamer friendly, and it's the same story at Bridgetown. Hence, the spotlight will once again fall on India's pacemen. And speedsters Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma, who ensnared a dozen wickets between them at Jamaica, will be looking forward to repeat that showing. Speculation is rife that Munaf Patel will be brought in as the third seamer, provided his lingering elbow strain relents. Meanwhile, leg-spinner Amit Mishra, who was partly prosperous at Jamaica with a 4-wicket haul, could be made to sit out.
The Windies' board's feud with opening batsman Chris Gayle continues to elude any kind of a resolution, which means that the tall Jamaican will have to play mere spectator again. Meanwhile new-comer Kirk Edwards, who performed reasonably well in the one-day series against India, will get a shot at bolstering up the Windies' tenuous middle order. Two other West Indians that India will be training their guns on are opener Adrian Barath and come-back man Marlon Samuels.
The Windies are keen to be in the right frame of mind when they take the field against India later today and so they have even roped in world-renowned psychologist Rudi Webster to impart some of his magic. India may be short of such an edge, but the team is anyway upbeat and raring to secure an unassailable 2-0 lead.