Chance for West Indies to keep weakened Australia under pressure

Preview

Kieron Pollard did not confirm whether he would be fit but Jason Holder is expected to return

Big Picture

As for a number of sides, one-day series have been few and far between for these two teams since Covid-19 struck. For both it will be just their third series under the World Cup Super League and in Australia’s case it’s more than six months since they last played 50-over cricket.

In a way, the two teams emphasise how each ODI is now more important. Australia have won both their series against tough opponents in India and England but are only 10 points better off than West Indies due to dropping a game in each series. West Indies were whitewashed by Bangladesh but made up ground with a 3-0 win over Sri Lanka.

Since 2000, the sides have played each other 48 times in ODIs with Australia 37-8 ahead although in this series the home advantage for West Indies could be significant. It means they can pick their specialist one-day squad whereas Australia’s line-up will be a mix-and-match job given the absentees and T20 focus of the tour.

With Aaron Finch ruled out of at least the first match with a knee injury, stand-in captain Alex Carey and Mitchell Marsh will be the only members of the top order who have been a regular part of Australia’s ODI line-up. In Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Adam Zampa they still have the core of their bowling attack together although there are spaces to fill there as well.

West Indies played some very solid cricket against Sri Lanka earlier this year when they won all three games chasing but coach Phil Simmons has laid down the challenge for them of going big if they get the chance to bat first. The recent T20 series was West Indies’ first bilateral success against Australia in any format since 1995 when they won a one-day series. They have a good chance of matching that this time.

Form guide

(last five completed matches)
West Indies WWWLL
Australia LWWWL

In the spotlight

Shai Hope has a phenomenal ODI record. Of players to score over 3000 runs, only two – Virat Kohli and Babar Azam – currently have a better average. He was in fine form during the series against Sri Lanka in March when he made 110, 84 and 64. In his one previous innings against Australia, he made 68 at the 2019 World Cup.

Mitchell Marsh was the one significant success in the T20 series as he scored 219 runs and claimed eight wickets with some of the most consistent cricket he has produced for Australia. He returned to the ODI side in early 2020 for the first time in two years but then missed the home series against India due to injury. His ODI numbers are pretty solid: a batting average of 34.36 and bowling return of 36.79. He will enter this series full of confidence with a chance to cement his role as the team’s premier limited-overs allrounder.

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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