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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

India resume search for their No. 4 in Chris Gayle's 300th ODI

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Ganga: Gayle's performance will determine his destiny (8:30)

Chris Gayle gears up to play his 300th ODI as West Indies take on India in the second ODI at Port of Spain on Sunday (8:30)

Big Picture

The paradox of the Indian ODI team is that they have a top three that is the envy of the world. Conversely, the strength of the top order has meant that opportunities for the middle order have been scarce. Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli have been so successful for so long, that the middle order hasn't really been tried, or tested. Moreover, the frequent chopping and changing has meant that the No. 4 spot, which has been a position yet to be nailed down, has still not gone to a set claimant.

KL Rahul had started at No. 4 in the World Cup before moving up to open in the absence of Dhawan, but didn't find a place in the XI for the rain-hit first ODI. Rishabh Pant has batted at No. 4 in his last five ODIs, but with Shreyas Iyer also in the mix now, it could be a more natural fit to have him at four and Pant at five.

Iyer had a good showing with the India A side, and apart from him, Manish Pandey is also in the fray. Iyer played the first ODI of the series but the rain didn't allow India to bat as only 13 overs of play was possible in Guyana. But as the caravan moves to Trinidad for the second (and then the third) ODI, it will be interesting to see what India's plans are.

West Indies, on the other hand, will be looking to make Chris Gayle's 300th ODI a memorable one. With the series effectively reduced to two ODIs, whoever wins this game will be assured of not losing the series.

With the inclusion of Roston Chase in the side, West Indies are looking for someone to provide stability amid their big hitters, which was lacking during the World Cup. Their real rebuilding, though, will only start once Gayle says goodbye, and one of John Campbell and Shai Hope partners with Evin Lewis at the top of the order.

Form guide

West Indies WLLLL (last five completed matches, most recent first)

India LWWLW

In the spotlight

Who other than Chris Gayle? After a below-par World Cup, the big Jamaican found some form with scores of 122 not out and 94 in the Global T20 Canada, but struggled on a two-paced pitch in the first ODI. His 4 off 31 in the series opener was his slowest ODI innings when he has faced at least 25 balls.

Sunday will present another opportunity for Shreyas Iyer to push his case forward as a solution to India's No. 4 problem. While he batted at No. 3 - Pandey took the No. 4 spot - in the 'A' team series last month, Iyer scored 187 runs from four innings at an average of 62.33. After not getting a chance in the T20I series and the washout in the first ODI, he will be looking forward to carrying his good form at the international level as well.

Team news

With hardly any play possible in the series opener, the teams didn't really get to test their chosen XIs. Barring fitness issues, both sides are likely to be unchanged.

West Indies XI: (probable) 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Shai Hope (wk), 4 Shimron Hetmyer, 5 Nicholas Pooran, 6 Roston Chase, 7 Jason Holder (capt), 8 Fabian Allen, 9 Carlos Brathwaite, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Sheldon Cottrell

India XI: (probable) 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 Kedar Jadhav, 6 Rishabh Pant (wk) 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Khaleel Ahmed, 11 Kuldeep Yadav

Pitch and conditions

Since the start of 2010, spinners have fared better at Queen's Park Oval, averaging 27.40 as compared to the fast bowlers' 31.12.

Four out of the last five ODIs here have been affected by rain, and while it poured down on the eve of the match as well, the forecast for Sunday is clear. It's likely to be partly cloudy with temperatures hovering around 25-degrees centigrade.

Stats and trivia

  • Sunday's match will be Gayle's 300th ODI. He will overtake Brian Lara as the most-capped West Indies player in the format.

  • Gayle (10,397) is also nine runs away from overtaking Lara's tally of 10,405 ODI runs, the most by a West Indies batsman.

  • Kuldeep Yadav has taken 94 wickets in 52 ODIs. He has three more games to break Mohammed Shami's record of being the fastest Indian to reach the 100-wicket mark.

Quotes

"Personally, I am not thinking about batting only at No. 4. I want to be someone who is very flexible, batting at any number."
Shreyas Iyer is not bothered about his batting position

West Indies 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st45CH GayleE Lewis
2nd7E LewisSD Hope
3rd40E LewisSO Hetmyer
4th56E LewisN Pooran
5th31RL ChaseN Pooran
6th0JO HolderRL Chase
7th1JO HolderCR Brathwaite
8th2KAJ RoachJO Holder
9th27JO HolderSS Cottrell
10th1JO HolderO Thomas