Rampant Australia seek series sweep against timid West Indies

World Test Champions Australia needed seven sessions to seal their 10-wicket romp against a depleted West Indies in the first Test

Reuters
Published : 24 Jan 2024, 11:01 AM
Updated : 24 Jan 2024, 11:01 AM

Australia took a little over two days to wrap up victory in the series opener in Adelaide and a similar fate could befall West Indies in the day-night second and final Test in Brisbane beginning on Thursday.

World Test Champions (WTC) Australia needed seven sessions to seal their 10-wicket romp against a depleted West Indies, who fielded three debutants in the match.

Australia quick Josh Hazlewood, who finished with a nine-wicket match haul, spearheaded the rout with West Indies failing to reach 200 in either innings and Kirk McKenzie the only batsman to make 50 runs or more.

Their task might be even tougher in Brisbane, where Australia beat South Africa inside two days in December 2022 on a minefield of a pitch at the Gabba.

Furthermore, Australia boast a perfect 11-0 record in day-night Tests and the tourists look ill-equipped to master the ever-swinging pink ball.

Australia will field an unchanged side with Travis Head, who hit a brilliant century in Adelaide, having recovered from COVID-19.

All-rounder Cameron Green and coach Andrew McDonald have since been diagnosed with the virus, but both are able to play full parts in the match while separated from the rest of the squad until they Test negative.

"He's fine," vice captain Steve Smith said of Green on Wednesday. "No physical drama at all – just tested positive. Him and Andrew McDonald are both fine."

Opener Usman Khawaja has also cleared his concussion tests after being hit on the helmet by Shamar Joseph and forced to retire hurt in the last few overs of the Adelaide run chase.

Raw paceman Joseph was the one shining light for West Indies in Adelaide, dazzling on his Test debut with 5-94 and a solid batting cameo at number 11 in the first innings.

Smith, who will play his second Test in his new opening role having replaced the retired David Warner at the top of the order, said he had been impressed with the West Indies attack.

"They've got some good bowlers in there, and the pink ball, when it's sniffing around and swinging around, it might suit them nicely, like it does our bowlers," Smith added.

West Indies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite has asked his batsmen to draw inspiration from McKenzie's gritty half-century in Adelaide.

"It shows that he has the ability to score runs against world-class bowlers," Brathwaite said after the thrashing in Adelaide.

"And the other guys didn't get runs but from watching Kirk they know now that we could get it done."

Rain has been forecast for the weekend but West Indies will need a much-improved display to make the weather a serious factor.