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.
(last five completed matches)
West Indies WWWLL
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.
Kieron Pollard did not confirm whether he would be available. If he continues to be sidelined it could open up room for another batter. Hope is the vice-captain in this format. Otherwise if he is fit it could be a choice between Jason Mohammed and Shimron Hetymer in the middle order. Jason Holder is also set to return after being rested. Interestingly, Pollard hinted that West Indies could consider including legspinner Hayden Walsh Jr after his success in the T20 series even though he is not part of the squad.
West Indies (possible) 1 Evin Lewis, 2 Shai Hope (wk), 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Jason Mohammed, 5 Nicholas Pooran, 6 Kieron Pollard (capt)/Shimron Hetmyer, 7 Jason Holder, 8 Fabien Allen, 9 Alzarri Joseph, 10 Akeal Hosein/Hayden Walsh Jr, 11 Sheldon Cottrell
Finch’s absence may give Matthew Wade a chance of his first ODI in four years if only to add some experience to the line-up. Marsh appears likely to remain at No. 3 after his success in the T20 series while there could be debuts for Josh Philippe and Ben McDermott. Carey did not rule out a return for Dan Christian as well.
Australia (possible) 1 Matthew Wade, 2 Josh Philippe, 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 Moises Henriques, 5 Ben McDermott, 6 Alex Carey (wk), 7 Ashton Agar, 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Adam Zampa, 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 Jason Behrendorff
Pitch and conditions
This will be the first international cricket in Barbados since January 2020. Carey said the pitch looked good while Pollard noted the lush outfield. The forecast is for a cloudy but dry day.
Stats and trivia
- Nicholas Pooran needs 18 runs to reach 1000 in ODIs. If he did it in his next innings, his 26th, he would be the third-fastest for West Indies behind Viv Richards (21) and Gordon Greenidge (23)
- Since 1980-81, Australia have handed out three (or more) ODI debuts on only two occasions: 1984-85 against New Zealand in a game that was rained off and in 2012-13 against Sri Lanka – a match where Finch, Usman Khawaja and Phil Hughes made ODI debuts.
“It’s an Australian cricket team that left the shores and these guys will want to impress. It’s a matter of us concentrating on what we need to do and our plans. Mitch Marsh has got away from us a little in the T20 series but hopefully it’s not the same in the ODIs.”
“Learning from those T20s, we played some good cricket, we had some opportunities to stay alive in the series but unfortunately didn’t quite grab them. Now moving into one-day cricket, the game lengthens out, there’s opportunities to bat time in the middle, a new location and a new series with the likelihood of some fresh faces, it’s an exciting feel around the group.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
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