MUMBAI, India – West Indies will attempt to redeem themselves and also spoil Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell Test, when they face India in the second and final Test of the series tomorrow (midnight tonight).
The Caribbean side suffered a batting meltdown in the opening Test last in Kolkata last week, losing by an innings and 51 runs, and will be hoping to rescue the series with a victory at the Wankhede Stadium.
The contest has been transformed into the great farewell for India’s star batsman Sachin Tendulkar. He will be playing an unprecedented 200th and final Test on familiar territory and the emotions are likely to be high among his fans, hoping for a final glimpse of his mastery.
But Windies captain Darren Sammy said his side’s objective was clear – earn a series-levelling victory that would invariably spoil Tendulkar’s retirement party and prove against the number three-ranked Test side in the world that number six West Indies was a side moving in the upward direction in the world rankings.
“We had a couple training sessions over the last few days and they have been going well. We have all been working very hard. We are all disappointed about our performance in the previous Test and we all admitted we are a better than side than what we displayed in Kolkata,” said Sammy.
“It’s about us now putting it right out on the pitch and fighting hard for each other and the people of the Caribbean. We are looking to put a much improved performance in the second Test.”
He added: “We have all been in this situation before and we have always bounced back. We have to keep believing in ourselves and in our ability, and keep mentally focussed when we are out on the field.
“When the going gets tough, we have to just battle things out . . . trust our technique and be mentally tougher to weather the storms that pop up. Once we can do this and keep playing sensibly, there is no reason why we can’t improve and go on to win this Test here.”
West Indies plans were setback over the weekend, when key fast bowler Kemar Roach was ruled out of the remainder of the series with a shoulder injury.
Fellow fast bowler Shannon Gabriel arrived on Monday to replace Roach.
Sammy said rather than cry over Roach’s absence, it meant that another bowler has the opportunity to shine brightly the Windies and lead the team to a memorable victory.
“We will make do with the bowlers that we have here. Whatever 11 goes out onto the field must have a positive mindset that they can take 20 wickets against India.”
Sammy said his side needed to pay close attention to a pattern that has developed in recent times, where West Indies remove the top half of their opponents’ batting cheaply and fail to knock over the tail in short order.
In the first Test, the Windies had India reeling on 156 for six, but Rohit Sharma hit a debut Test hundred and Ravichandran Ashwin collected his second Test hundred in a record double-hundred, seventh-wicket stand that put the hosts firmly in control.
“We have to keep fighting and we have to bowl the same way we have bowled to the top-order batsmen,” Sammy pointed out.
“We should not relax when the lower part of the batting comes in. We still have got to be disciplined with our lines and lengths and when the opportunities come we have to take them.
“To be fair, Ashwin and Sharma batted well in the first Test, especially with Shane bowling well, they battled it out, and when the ball stopped doing a bit, the capitalised. But we need to find a way of finishing off teams.”
INDIA – Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Murali Vijay, Umesh Yadav
WEST INDIES – Darren Sammy (captain), Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Sheldon Cottrell, Narsingh Deonarine, Kirk Edwards, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Veersammy Permaul, Kieron Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Marlon Samuels, Shane Shillingford, Chadwick Walton.