The Windies are walking into the third and final Test looking to put a few feathers in their cap. A win or a draw at Kensington Oval would hand them their first Test series win against a top six team since 2014. A win or a draw would mean that the Windies get only their third win in a series involving three or more matches after the turn of this century.
For Jason Holder, there would be no better place than his home ground to win his second series as captain. It was also where he got his first ever Test win on home soil as captain. The ground, Kensington Oval, will be hosting the first ever Day/Night Test Match in the West Indies.
Holder captained the Windies in both their Day/Night Test matches, the first one against Pakistan at Dubai, the second last year against England at Birmingham, both of which were losses. This time the Windies will have their tails up.
They have won their last two games at Barbados, in their most recent Kensington over victory against Pakistan at Kensington Oval, Shannon Gabriel was the man-of-the-match after picking up nine wickets, with five in the fourth innings to dismiss Pakistan for less than a hundred.
The pacer is in a purple patch in this tour too, he picked up 17 wickets this series, 13 of them coming in the second test alone. But Gabriel’s Day/Night performance has not been the best, he picked up just one wicket at Dubai against Pakistan. However, with the pitch and conditions supporting pacers at Barbados, Gabriel may be able to extract something from the pink ball after the sun sets.
On the batting front, the Windies will be worried about the current form of Shai Hope and Roston Chase. Both of them were heroes against Pakistan last year when the Windies played at Barbados. Roston Chase got a hundred in the first innings, and Hope got an important 90 in the second.
Apart from Hope and Chase, everyone has done their bit for the Windies. Both openers, Brathwaite and Smith, got fifties at different stages of the last test, wicket-keeper Shane Dowrich also got a fifty in the first innings.
The visitors on the other hand will be weakened by the absence of Chandimal, who was suspended for ball-tampering. In the captain’s absence, a lot would rest on the shoulders of Kusal Mendis, the highest run-getter on this tour.
The real threat for the Windies could be the Lankan pacers, including stand-in captain Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Kumara. They gave the Windies’ brief moments of stress during the last Test match, Lahiru Kumara especially troubling Windies batsmen with pace and bounce.
Rangana Herath picked up an injury late this week and he was declared unfit to play in the final Test at Barbados.
WINDIES (Probable XI)
Kraigg Brathwaite, Devon Smith, Kieron Powell, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich (wk), Jason Holder ©, Devendra Bishoo, Kemar Roach, Miguel Cummins, Shanon Gabriel.
SRI LANKA (Probable XI)
Kusal Perera, Mahela Udawatte, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Roshan Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Kasun Rajitha, Suranga Lakmal ©, Lahiru Kumara.
Photo Credit - CWI Media/Randy Brooks of Brooks Latouche Photography