India v West Indies, 3rd Test, Mumbai November 21, 2011

Can India deliver an elusive whitewash?

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Match facts

Tuesday, November 22
Start time 0930 (0400 GMT)

Big Picture

Not counting two-Test flings, India have whitewashed only two series. It's a surprising statistic given how progressively difficult India have become to defeat at home. Only South Africa have beaten India in a Test at home in more than five years, yet a whitewash has hardly ever been a thought in recent times. A mix of flat tracks and slow starts has denied India absolute domination even while being kings of their castle.

In this series against West Indies, though, India overcame the slow start in Delhi and the flat track in Kolkata. They now stand on the cusp of that elusive whitewash, just like they did in 2002-03 against the same opponents, the last time India went into the last Test with the possibility of a clean sweep. India fell behind in that Eden Gardens Test back then, and Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman forced a draw on the final day. They won't want to leave the job unfinished this time.

When West Indies went to Pakistan in 1997-98, they had been whitewashed only once, that too in their first series, back in 1928. In less than 14 years since that Pakistan tour, they have added six to that tally. Times have been desperate, but West Indies have gone six years without getting whitewashed. They will need their best cricket to avoid another.

Form guide

(Most recent first)
India WWLLL
West Indies LLWDD

Watch out for…

Darren Bravo has obvious talent to match the Brian Lara mannerisms. It was well advertised that his century in Kolkata, Bravo's 12th Test, left him with an identical run aggregate and average as Lara had after 12 Tests. In his 13th, Lara scored 167 off 210 balls to set up an innings win.

As a partnership, India's openers have provided solid enough starts this series, but neither Virender Sehwag nor Gautam Gambhir has scored a century this year. They have both fought injuries: Sehwag has played five of India's 10 Tests this year, Gambhir six. They can both do with innings that make them feel good ahead of the tour of Australia.

Pitch and conditions

Wankhede usually provides fair tracks that make for exciting cricket. The red soil provides good bounce, liked by fast bowlers, spinners and shot-makers. The outfield is quick too. The Mumbai "winter" is kicking in, which merely means slightly nippy mornings and nights, and mid-30 temperatures during the day. Rain, clouds and bad light are not likely to affect the Test. This is the ground's first Test since renovation for the 2011 World Cup.

Team news

India have dropped Yuvraj Singh, and barring any injuries Virat Kohli should be back for his fourth Test, all against West Indies. Feeling "sluggish", MS Dhoni chose to give the pre-match training a miss, but the team management was confident he would play. Also, do India want to have a look at Varun Aaron before they go to Australia?


India (probable) 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Rahul Dravid, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 VVS Laxman, 6 Virat Kohli, 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Ishant Sharma/Varun Aaron, 10 Pragyan Ojha, 11 Umesh Yadav

West Indies have had an injury scare, but expect Shivnarine Chanderpaul to play despite a strained calf muscle. He did not practise on the eve of the match, though. Ravi Rampaul will have recovered from his stomach bug, and could replace Kemar Roach. The batting has been a worry, but there isn't much West Indies can do other than shuffle the order and separate the inexperienced top three.

West Indies (probable) 1 Adrian Barath, 2 Kraigg Brathwaite, 3 Kirk Edwards, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Marlon Samuels, 7 Darren Sammy (capt), 8 Carlton Baugh (wk), 9 Ravi Rampaul/Kemar Roach, 10 Fidel Edwards, 11 Devendra Bishoo

Stats and trivia

  • Rahul Dravid needs 21 runs to become the second man to reach 13,000 Test runs. With five centuries this year, he has matched his best year, 2002.

  • Sehwag needs 117 to become the 23rd batsman to reach 8000 runs. If Sehwag gets there in his next innings, he will be fourth-fastest to the mark. If he takes between two and five innings, he will be the fifth-fastest. Two more sixes, and he will become the second-highest six-hitter, behind only Adam Gilchrist. He is currently level with Chris Cairns on 87 sixes.

  • Chanderpaul holds many records, but in Kolkata he reached one that will hurt him on more than one count. He is now part of 64 Test losses, more than anybody. He broke former team-mate Lara's record. Chanderpaul is not likely to get rid of this dubious distinction anytime soon: the next current player on the list is Tendulkar, who has been part of 50 defeats.

Quotes

"We would like to definitely win the series 3-0, that's our target. We would like to concentrate on the process and, if we end up winning the match, it will be great for us."
VVS Laxman says the right things on the eve of the Test.

"We are monitoring the situation to see if he could make it tomorrow. Given the experienced player that he is we will take a call tomorrow."
Darren Sammy on Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who did not practise on the eve of the match.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on November 24, 2011, 13:26 GMT

    sachin make his 100th century in Mumbai

  • bigdhonifan on November 22, 2011, 13:49 GMT

    My lineup for Aussie tour Sewag, gambhir, Dravid, Sachin, Laxman, Rahane, Dhoni,Aswin, Ishant, Ojha, Umesh, Varun, Sreesanth, Kohli, Zaheer/Praveen Kumar

  • dummy4fb on November 22, 2011, 8:22 GMT

    rare whitewash? India on full strength, in their own backyard. And WI being very low in ranking and only one renowned player in chanderpaul, india is expected to whitewash atleast WI!

  • dummy4fb on November 22, 2011, 7:36 GMT

    guys i have a queation.........with both the BOARD PAID COMMENTATORS commentating 2gather.......... whats the cost of each word going into our ears??? coz their WISE COMMENTS are much more precious as the broadcaster is also paying them in addition to their SERVICES hired by the BOARD..... any mathematicians present here?????

  • dummy4fb on November 22, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    I think the West Indians will stave off defeat in this 3rd and final test match. The wicket is one that is true to form and the bounce seems even. Moreover, the Windies boys tend to favour the bouncier wickets which seems to play into their stroke making. I wish them luck. I like the attitude of the youngsters in the team. I must say young Bravo, will soon find himslef a permanent fixture in the team, Barath, samuels, Braithwaite and Edwards also shows good temperament that with good nurturing and continuous craft-working, west indies could finally see itself emerge from the dungeons.

  • muthuthewaves on November 22, 2011, 2:47 GMT

    all the best sachin get ur 100th ton. We always wish to see u at no.4 no rohits or rahanes or kohlis or anyone can replace u. It wil be vacant forever. So play as much as u can. Those who bash u wil know the value of the great genius once u retire. The proof is the spot left by ganguly is still vacant even after two years. So sachin keep goin

  • VK10 on November 22, 2011, 2:40 GMT

    @RandyOz: Yes, except for about 22K additional international runs and 81 additional international 100's at an even better average. Try asking Ponting how hard it is to score those many runs and those many 100's, and play for so many years.

  • dummy4fb on November 22, 2011, 2:00 GMT

    This Test is not for trying out weaker alternatives or giving anyone a chance; its about winning. Virat in for Yuvi is the only change that makes sense. If some fast bowler needs rest, another tried and tested replacement must come in.

    Indians lack killer instinct, they need a relook at their attitude. That could be made an easier task if they find the gumption to appreciate that they were lucky to come out of jail in the Kotla Test. QED.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 22, 2011, 1:32 GMT

    Just a couple of hours more to go and a cracker of a test is going to unfold. The Great Wall FTW...As his ardent supporter, I'm looking forward for a meaningful contribution from him while he crosses the 13,000th mark. What a career he's had thus far! Take a bow to The Great Wall. Dravid FTW!! I would be gutted if he can't get to the 37th century and may be the 38th in the second inning....Too greedy! I know. But I can't help it looking at the way he's been playing! He looks in awesome touch. Rock Solid! Make hay while Sun shines! He's done 2 in 2 in 2005. Why not now?

  • patelveej1908 on November 22, 2011, 1:05 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar should get his 100th century this match..

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