EAST LONDON–West Indies, facing a series defeat against South Africa, will attempt to strike back to keep their chances alive when both teams meet in the third of the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series at the Buffalo Park in East London today.
The West Indies will have to raise their game if they are to stop the South Africans from sealing the series with a win and two games in hand after they won the first couple of ODIs comfortably.
The Windies bowling attack is expected to particularly target the top three South Africa batsmen who have garnered most of their runs protecting a vulnerable middle order from exposure.
South Africa lost five wickets for 34 runs between the 40th and 48th over in the first ODI and still look shaky at Number six and seven.
The pressure will be on senior middle order batsman Marlon Samuels, who has been criticized for throwing his wicket away, to bat with more responsibility as the Caribbean side faces a series defeat.
The spotlight will also be on maverick opener Chris Gayle who plundered the bowling in the T20 series but whose flagging form will be a concern.
Gayle has not scored an ODI century in 14 matches, dating back to June 2013, and has only managed one fifty in that time.
Lendl Simmons, who is part of the World Cup squad, is nursing a finger injury but could be slotted into the team in place of Leon Johnson to bolster the batting.
The only other change could be made is in the seam department where Jerome Taylor may be given a rest while Sheldon Cottrell is given a chance. Taylor has been expensive, giving away 145 runs in the last two matches and claiming just three wickets.
Some commentators believe conditions are ideal for West Indies to bounce back.
East London's pitch is much slower than Johannesburg and the ball is expected to be slow in coming on to the bat with very little assistance for the pacers.
Late evening rain is also forecast which may hamper the second innings. (CMC)