West Indies unchanged for third ODI in Saint Lucia
Gros Islet (Saint Lucia): West Indies have resisted the temptation to ring the changes and go into the third One-Day International of the five-match series against Pakistan tomorrow here with the same squad that shared the honours with the visitors over the first two matches in Guyana.
There was much speculation that the selectors would have explored other options in both batting and bowling for the remaining three ODI`s.
However they have chosen to keep with the same eleven that played both matches at Providence along with batsman Devon Smith and fast bowler Tino Best.
Despite being the most prolific batsman in domestic cricket in the Caribbean in 2013, Smith is considered fortunate to have been retained as he failed to score in both matches he played in the preceding Tri-Nation Series involving Sri Lanka and eventual winners India.
Best is considered less of a gamble, especially given the time of year that these matches are being played when pitches around the region are generally expected to be greener and offering more assistance to the pacers.
With a 16-man travelling party, Pakistan have a wider pool from which to draw their final eleven and there is a strong case for Junaid Khan playing at the Beausejour Cricket Ground alongside fellow left-arm seamers Mohammad Irfan and Wahab Riaz.
His inclusion would likely be at the expense of Asad Ali, the right-armer who opened the bowling with the giant Irfan in the opening fixtures at Providence.
In the batting department, the tourists remain as vulnerable as ever.
Contrasting half-centuries by Shahid Afridi and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq more than adequately compensated for the failure of the others in the line-up in the opening match last Sunday.
But in the second match two days later, poor shot selection - with Misbah and Afridi the chief culprits - paved the way for a West Indies win despite fifties by opener Nasir Jamshed and wicketkeeper-batsman Umar Akmal. Not that the West Indies are in any way significantly different.
They were routed for just 98 in the first match, their lowest-ever total in an ODI in the Caribbean, and were reliant on the Bravo brothers, Darren and skipper Dwayne, to post what proved to be a match-winning total in the second encounter.
It all points to more domination by the bowlers of both sides when the series resumes on Friday unless someone on either side can rise above the prevailing mediocrity to produce a truly special batting exhibition.