West Indies will kick off their home season with the first Test match against South Africa. Windies recently played a draw against Sri Lanka in Tests, while South Africa suffered a 2-0 loss in Pakistan this year.
Match Timings: May 10, 7:30 PM IST
West Indies’ hectic home season begins with a Test series against South Africa and it will be a 2-match Test series, followed by 5 T20Is. Dean Elgar will take the big responsibility to boost South Africa’s performance in the longer format of cricket. It will be the last away assignment for them and later, they will play Test matches at home against India. South Africa will miss its former skipper Plessis who announced retirement from Test cricket. He was the top-performer when South Africa whitewashed Sri Lanka in the home series. It will be the last series in the current WTC cycle of 2019-21. Both teams would look to finish higher in the table.
It will be a long time when we will see South Africa and West Indies facing each other in Tests. Proteas have to prove a lot and each series is important for them to revive the cricket in their country. They have two separate captains for white-ball and red-ball. Elgar’s main focus would be the next cycle of the World Test Championship. Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar will have a big responsibility in top-order. They had good numbers in the previous one year in Test format. Temba Bavuma, Rassie Van der Dussen and Quinton de Kock will play sheet-anchors in middle-order. Proteas can try two spinners considering the spin factor in Daren Sammy Cricket Ground. Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, and Kagiso Rabada would be their pace-attack.
Meanwhile, West Indies had few positive points from the first edition of WTC and this home season will be important for them. They suffered a 2-0 loss in the first home series in 2019 against India but they beat England in the opening Test of the series, followed by two losses. Their best version came in 2021 when they defeated strong Bangladesh Down Under 2-0 and also overcame Sri Lanka in the home series. Brathwaite was appointed as the new Test skipper after the Bangladesh series and the Windies didn’t lose a single game out of four matches. Shai Hope, Kieran Powell, and Roston Chase will be back after missing out the home Test series against Sri Lanka.
Shai Hope’s inclusion would be great and they will now have a strong top-order. Kyle Mayers’ recent success is already a great thing for them. West Indies will also include both Roston Chase, and Rahkeem Cornwall as their main spinners. The best part is they can also provide depth in batting. They can make one surprise change in pace-attack. Only two out of Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, and Alzarri Joseph will play in the XI. Gabriel will be miss out due to injury. Jayden Seales also had impressive outings in domestic so hosts can give him a Test debut.
West Indies and South Africa both had a disappointing campaign in World Test Championship 2019-21. Proteas even won just one series against Sri Lanka at home and on the other side, West Indies also had one series win in Bangladesh. Hosts even failed to win a single match at home out of four matches, while Proteas also have no victory outside the home in WTC. Both are strong on paper and West Indies are slightly ahead in the game.
Daren Sammy Cricket Ground is a decent Test surface and we might expect a result here. The track will get slow later as the match progresses. Spin can enjoy the game on the final two days. Chasing in 4th innings would be a tough call and morning sessions will be crucial against the pace.