India look set to extend their dominance over West Indies when the first match of a two-Test series starts at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium here Thursday.
Having swept the T20 series 3-0 and taken the ODI contest 2-0, Virat Kohli's India are bursting with confidence going into their first Test match since the historic series triumph in Australia at the start of the year.
In contrast, the West Indies have gone off the boil since dominating England in the home series in the Caribbean six months ago and then going toe-to-toe with the same opponents in the subsequent ODI series.
A whitewash in the tour-ending T20 skirmish, followed by the removal of controversial head coach Richard Pybus and a disappointing World Cup campaign has left Jason Holder's men with much-lost ground to reclaim.
And on the evidence of the limited-overs leg of India's visit, and especially Kohli's irresistible form with the bat, it will be asking a lot of the West Indies to get the better of the tourists and claim a first Test match victory over India for more than 17 years.
However, if the home team can recapture the Holder-inspired dominance of England achieved earlier this year, there is hope that they will be able to match up to an Indian team well prepared for the longer version of the game.
For India, Chesteshwar Pujara, who reeled off three centuries in the four Tests in Australia, has already picked up from where he left off Down Under in notching up three figures in the lone warm-up fixture against a regional representative team last weekend.
A change of policy in preparation has seen the pitch in Antigua, and indeed all Test match venues in the Caribbean, being more fast bowler-friendly since the start of last year.
That could favour the visitors who have a trio in Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma very capable of exploiting helpful conditions.
Not that the West Indies will be daunted by that prospect, for in Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel and Holder, they have the firepower to challenge India's vaunted batting line-up, as the English found to their cost in February.
However, the outcome of the first Test could ultimately hinge on batting, and whether the West Indies can defy a determined, world-class bowling attack to post competitive totals.
West Indies on Wednesday were forced to call-up seamer Miguel Cummins to replace explosive 21-year-old all-rounder Keemo Paul who has an ankle injury.
Cummins, 28, made his debut three years ago against India in Jamaica. He had a memorable second match in Saint Lucia when he had match figures of 9-102, including career-best 6-48 in the second innings.
When is the first Test between West Indies and India?
The first Test between West Indies and India will begin on 22 August and can go on until 26 August 2019.
Where is the match being played?
The match will be played at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
What time does the match begin?
The match begins at 7:00 PM IST with toss taking place at 6.30 PM IST.
Which TV channels will broadcast the West Indies vs India first Test?
The match will be broadcast on Sony Ten 1 & Sony Ten 1 HD in English and Sony Ten 3 & Sony Ten 3 HD in Hindi.
How do I watch online the match online?
The match will be live-streamed on SonyLiv. You can also catch live updates on Firstpost.com.
(With inputs from AFP)
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