West Indies lost 3-2 against South Africa and need better returns from their middle order
Australia are back in action. While most other major nations have been playing over the last few months, this will be the men’s side first time in the field since early March in New Zealand. It marks what is meant to be a month of cricket although the Bangladesh leg of the tour has yet to have its biosecure plans signed off.
As with all the teams involved, sights are being focused on the T20 World Cup in October although Australia are preparing with one hand tied behind their backs. The absentees have been well-documented with David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson and Daniel Sams making themselves unavailable and Steven Smith is injured.
They are up against a West Indies side that is coming straight off a tightly-fought series against South Africa which the visitors took 3-2 in the decider.
(last five completed matches)
West Indies LWLLW
In the spotlight
Nicholas Pooran briefly lit up the BBL during a short spell with Melbourne Stars – including a spectacular display alongside Maxwell against Sydney Sixers – but it has been a difficult year so far in T20Is and he also made four ducks in six innings at the IPL. He has a top score of 26 in seven innings against Sri Lanka and South Africa and hasn’t reached 30 since December 2019.
West Indies named 18 players for the 15 T20Is they are playing in this period, but Jason Holder is currently being rested as part of workload management. They have generally narrowed down their options to a squad of 13 shortly before each game.
West Indies (possible) 1 Lendl Simmons, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Chris Gayle, 4 Shimron Hetmyer, 5 Kieron Pollard (capt), 6 Andre Russell, 7 Nicholas Pooran (wk), 8 Dwayne Bravo, 9 Akeal Hosain, 10 Obed McCoy, 11 Fidel Edwards
Christian is set for a return as Australia alter the balance of their side away from five frontline bowlers. Mitchell Starc, Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa will be joined by one more bowler. Josh Philippe is likely to take a middle-order role. Ben McDermott could be jousting with Ashton Turner for the final batting position.
Australia (possible) 1 Aaron Finch, 2 Matthew Wade (wk), 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 Moises Henriques, 5 Ben McDermott, 6 Josh Philippe, 7 Dan Christian, 8 Ashton Agar, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Riley Meredith/Josh Hazlewood
Pitch and conditions
Runs came at a decent rate in Australia’s two intra-squad warm-up matches with Christian saying he felt 170 would be around par. Spin is expected to play a central role. St Lucia was in the path of hurricane Elsa last week but that has cleared through. The forecast is for a cloudy but dry evening.
Stats and trivia
“I’m not going to say they are vulnerable, not going to say it’s a second-string team, what I’m going to say is that we are going to play an Australian cricket team. It doesn’t matter which personnel, it’s a national team and they have world-class players who have played around the world.”
Kieron Pollard won’t be underestimating Australia despite the absentees
“At the moment we’re going to concentrate on winning this series. It’s something we pride ourselves on in Australian cricket. If you get in the habit or find momentum with winning, everything else usually looks after itself. So it’s a great opportunity for the guys here, and the guys back home have got plenty of credits.”
Australia coach Justin Langer is keeping focused on the task in hand
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo