West Indies v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, St Lucia July 18, 2013

Batsmen seek change of fortunes

Match facts

Friday, July 19, 2013
Start time 0900 local (1300 GMT)

Big Picture

The pitches served up for the one-dayers in the West Indies, starting from the tri-series, have largely produced scores of under 250. In the two 300-plus scores, the batsmen were aided more by poor bowling than favourable batting conditions. In the two ODIs so far in this series in Guyana, middle-of-the-road scores in the region of 220-230 have been matchwinning ones. With the series shifting to St Lucia for the three remaining one-dayers, the question is whether the trend of scores will change. Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies captain, is optimistic of higher scores but his team of power-hitters will be relieved only if they get conditions that suit their strengths.

The West Indies batsmen did well to recover from their shocker of a collapse in the first ODI by posting 232. It was a laborious innings for most part till Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard provided the calorie boost towards the end. Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels adopted a conservative approach, preserving wickets instead of taking off. Respecting the conditions, West Indies went with the strategy of setting a 235 target, knowing that would be enough to put pressure on Pakistan's line-up, which hasn't been in the best of touch either. Sunil Narine, who was pasted in the first match, bounced back to pick up four wickets.

Pakistan's batting worries haven't eased since they set foot in England for the Champions Trophy. The pitches haven't really helped a line-up low on confidence. Should Pakistan attack at the start or adopt West Indies' approach of safety first before leaving the acceleration to Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal? It's a likely dilemma. That they have the bowling to defend a competitive total is beyond doubt.

Form guide

(most recent first, last five completed matches)
West Indies WLLLW
Pakistan LWLLL

In the spotlight

Ahmed Shehzad was recalled to the one-day squad after a gap of two years, but it hasn't been a happy comeback, with scores of 5 and 19. His last five ODI scores make for poor reading - 0,6,9,5,19. He will have fond memories of St Lucia though, where he scored his second ODI century during the 2011 tour, before that slump began. He will be under pressure to perform, having taken Mohammad Hafeez's place in the opening position.

Since his 109 in the opening match of the tri-series, Chris Gayle has mysteriously tapered off, failing to go past 14 in his next five innings. His no-show at the top, coupled with Marlon Samuels' struggle is partly responsible for West Indies failing to bat with the fluency they are associated with. In the first ODI, he set off for a single, then hesitated before falling short of a direct hit and in the second, pushed at a delivery outside off and edged to the keeper. If Gayle sets himself up to bat through the innings, it could lend greater stability at the top.

Team news

West Indies named an unchanged squad for the three remaining one-dayers, giving Johnson Charles an extended run as the wicketkeeper in Denesh Ramdin's absence.

Quotes

"The energy and effort the guys put in the field [in the last match], and the outfield display, was fantastic. I think it reminds us how good we can actually be when we believe and get some self-confidence."
West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo on his team's victory in the second ODI

West Indies: (probable) 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Johnson Charles (wk), 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Lendl Simmons, 5 Marlon Samuels, 6 Dwayne Bravo (capt), 7 Kieron Pollard, 8 Darren Sammy, 9 Kemar Roach, 10 Sunil Narine, 11 Jason Holder

Pakistan rested Junaid Khan for the first two ODIs but if he is included, it could potentially be a three-man left-arm seam attack.

Pakistan: (probable) 1 Nasir Jamshed, 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 5 Asad Shafiq, 6 Umar Akmal (wk), 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Wahab Riaz, 9 Asad Ali/Junaid Khan, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Mohammad Irfan

Stats and trivia

  • Shahid Afridi needs three more sixes for 400 international sixes
  • Pakistan have an unbeaten record in ODIs at St Lucia, beating West Indies on all four occasions

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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