India v West Indies, 1st Test, Kolkata November 5, 2013

Tendulkar's chance to reach 1000 at a venue

Stats preview of the first Test between India and West Indies in Kolkata

Given that India are the third-ranked team according to the ICC rankings, and are playing at home against the sixth-ranked West Indies, it's clear who the favourites are going into this series. Almost everything in this series revolves around Sachin Tendulkar, but there are other incentives for both teams: a series win will lift India to No.2 from their current third position, while West Indies will improve from sixth to fourth if they win the series.

India lost a home series against England last year - and one of the Test defeats was at the Eden Gardens - but since then they've thrashed Australia 4-0, and they'll also remember that they notched up a comfortable 2-0 series win the last time West Indies toured, in a three-Test series a couple of years ago. The fact that they're touring again so quickly is also unusual, given that their four previous tours had come at intervals of at least seven years each - they toured in 1987, 1994, 2002 and then 2011.

West Indies have lost their last two series in India by 2-0 margins. The last time they didn't lose a series in India was in 1994, when the three-Test series was drawn 1-1. However, they are on a bit of a roll at the moment, having won their last six Tests on the trot, beating New Zealand, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe by identical 2-0 margins. Admittedly, the opposition weren't the best around, but six wins in six Tests should still give the team some confidence: the last time they'd won six or more on the trot was between June and December 1988, when they won four Tests in England and three in Australia.

The last time West Indies toured India was in November 2011, and the batsmen who shone then were Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo. Both are around this time as well. Chanderpaul's form is as strong as ever: since the beginning of 2007 he averages 70.58, the highest among any batsman who's scored at least 1000 runs during this period. The Mumbai Test will be his 150th, though that's unlikely to be the most celebrated landmark of that Test. Chanderpaul's also generally a quick starter on tours: he averages 52.04 in the first Test of an away series, and scored 118 and 47 in the first Test when he toured India in 2011.

Bravo was the most successful batsman on that tour, scoring 404 at an average of 67.33, with two hundreds in six innings. This will be Bravo's fourth Test in India, which is more than the Tests Brian Lara played in India over his entire career.

West Indies will also be bolstered this time by the presence of Chris Gayle, who'd missed the 2011 tour. With Marlon Samuels around as well, the West Indies middle order is a fairly experienced one.

West Indian batsmen in Tests in India
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 6 491 54.55 2/ 1
Darren Bravo 3 404 67.33 2/ 0
Marlon Samuels 4 289 41.28 1/ 2
Kirk Edwards 3 227 37.83 0/ 2
Chris Gayle 3 160 32.00 0/ 1
Darren Sammy 3 110 18.33 0/ 0
Kieran Powell 2 106 26.50 0/ 1

India's spinners did the job against Australia, with R Ashwin taking 29 wickets at 20.10, but India will probably miss Ravindra Jadeja, who took 24 wickets at 17.45. Pragyan Ojha is likely to be India's second spinner, but West Indies' left-handers will fancy him, given that he averages more than 53 runs per wicket against left-hand batsmen in his Test career so far.

Indian spinners v right- and left-handers
Bowler Versus Runs Wickets Average Econ rate
R Ashwin Right-handers 1599 44 36.34 3.19
  Left-handers 1026 48 21.37 2.53
Pragyan Ojha Right-handers 2164 82 26.39 2.47
  Left-handers 1078 20 53.90 3.26
Amit Mishra Right-handers 1359 31 43.83 3.13
  Left-handers 503 12 41.91 3.36

While there are other aspects of interest during the series, the centrepiece is clearly Sachin Tendulkar. He has played 12 Tests in Kolkata and averages 47.88, with his highest score - 176 - also coming against West Indies, in 2002. That century came in the second innings, and saved India the blushes: after trailing by 139 in the first innings, India had slumped to 87 for 4 in their second innings, when Tendulkar and VVS Laxman put together a double-century partnership to lift India to 471 for 8. Since then, Tendulkar has gone past 50 five times in Tests in Kolkata, but converted only one of those into a hundred, when he scored 106 against South Africa in 2010.

In all, Tendulkar has scored 862 Test runs at the Eden Gardens, which puts him in third place in the all-time list, behind Laxman (1217 runs at 110.63), and Rahul Dravid (962 runs at 68.71).

Most Test runs at the Eden Gardens
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
VVS Laxman 10 1217 110.63 5/ 3
Rahul Dravid 9 962 68.71 4/ 3
Sachin Tendulkar 12 862 47.88 2/ 6
Mohammad Azharuddin 7 860 107.50 5/ 2
Dilip Vengsarkar 7 645 71.66 2/ 2
Sunil Gavaskar 8 583 44.84 2/ 1

If Tendulkar scores 138 runs in this Test, he'll become only the third Indian batsman, after Laxman and Sunil Gavaskar, to score 1000 Test runs at a venue. Gavaskar scored more than 1000 at two grounds - the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai and the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Tendulkar's best is 970 in Chennai, followed by 869 in Bangalore. If he doesn't get 138 here, the task will get slightly tougher at the Wankhede: he'll need 153 to get to 1000 Test runs there.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Abhishek on November 6, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    Its so emotional to see Sachin on the field now. Cannot believe This is his last series. Getting Teary eyed whenever I watch any Sachin show on TV. Hope he scores hundreds in both the games. Love you forever Sach.

  • gurinder on November 6, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    @s .akeel- he is retiring in few days time. wats the hurry. let indian crowd enjoy last few days of the marvelous career of GREATEST CRICKETER EVER TO STROLL ON A CRICKET FIELD--SACHIN.

  • Sabeeh on November 6, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    I hope the final match ends as a draw with Sachin bowling the final over.

    How spectacular would that be?

    As a Pakistani fan, I respect Sachin. An all-time great who is unbelievably humble and professional. A true champion.

  • Android on November 6, 2013, 6:35 GMT

    oh man. he has not retired yet. i seriously think he has achieved enough, and should retire, and give chance to youngster. it's very logical, since he is not a future prospect for India nor is anything more left to achieve.

  • Bhaskar on November 6, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    16,000 Test runs should be the right target for Sachin & also nobody so far has highlighted that he has also taken 200 international wickets as bowler.

  • Sharjeel on November 6, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    Being a huge fan of Sachin, I feel that the legend has been put under immense and unnecessary pressure of stats through out his career. And amazingly the focus still remains even though it's time to celebrate what he has achieved. Lets try to cheer him on when he walks out on the field with no more expectations...lets make his last few strolls really memorable ones...too much to ask for??? I hope not!

  • Dummy4 on November 6, 2013, 2:16 GMT

    To much hype around Tendulka. I think Tendulka and India will have a dissapointing series. West Indies is a very strong and unpredictable team.

  • Dummy4 on November 6, 2013, 1:44 GMT

    WI should go for raw pace. Guys like roach, best should be the ones picked, with sammy as third seamer. WI bowling lineup is very under rated. It is always the batting which let them down. They should ignore marine, maybe pick someone like shilling ford or benn. Although considering u already have useful spin options in samuels, gayle and denoraine,u could have another seamer like fidel edwards, shanon gabriel etc. So the option is to have a spinner who can bowl in right area consistently and bowl long overs like been or shillingford (probably why dhoni keeps picking ishant), or pick another raw pace bowler. These are the ones that can trouble the indian batsman on these flat pitches.

  • Shrikar on November 5, 2013, 20:31 GMT

    "on a bit of a roll"? after New Zealand, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe? really.. a roll of mediocrity maybe..

  • murali on November 5, 2013, 20:18 GMT

    i think west indies has more experience so hard to say advantage considering india played odi's on flat track so lot depend on pujara

  • No featured comments at the moment.