The Test series between Australia and the West Indies is set to get underway at Optus Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. The Inner Sanctum previews the first test between the two sides.
The 2022/23 Australian summer of cricket is set to kick off on Wednesday between Australia and the West Indies, and Perth’s Optus Stadium, which has not hosted a test match since 2019 will be the venue. This will be the home side’s first test series on home soil since its crushing 4-0 defeat of England last summer.
The two sides last met in the summer of 2015/16, where an experienced Australian side claimed a 2-0 series victory. However, with more confidence and experience under its belt, the West Indies are set to put up a far tougher fight this time around.
It is safe to say anticipation is the way to describe the upcoming series between Australia and the West Indies, with recent struggles both on and off the field. The side which defeated England is relatively unchanged, however, it will be new coach Andrew McDonald’s first Test series in charge on home soil.
Australia has a lot of strength within the rest of the squad, with both Marcus Harris and Scott Boland, who burst onto the international scene with a stunning six-wicket haul in the Boxing Day Test carrying the drinks.
Although it looks as though Australia will look to the trio of Starc, Cummins, and Hazlewood, don’t be surprised if you see Boland throughout the series.
Although the Australians won in a relatively simple fashion in its last home series against the West Indies, this is a very different side, and if they are not taken seriously, will give the home side a massive shock.
Last Time They Met
It was a 2-0 series victory to Australia when these sides last met in the summer of 2015/16, meaning the Frank Worrell Trophy currently sits with the home side.
Australia was utterly ruthless the last time the West Indies toured Australia, with dominant performances in Hobart and Melbourne, winning by an innings and 212 runs and 177 runs respectively. The third test in Sydney was significantly rain-affected and capped off a very disappointing tour for the young West Indian side.
However, with more experience in the side from players such as captain Kraigg Brathwaite, star allrounder Jason Holder, veteran pace bowler Kemar Roach, and experienced spinner Roston Chase amongst others, the West Indies are set to put up a strong fight against a fierce Australian side.
With his spot under pressure heading into last summer, Travis Head could not have had a better Ashes series if he tried, collecting the player of the series honours with two centuries to his name with stunning performances in both Brisbane and Hobart.
Head comes into the series in strong form from the recent ODI series against England, having played a remarkable inning of 152 runs off 130 deliveries. Head’s bold style of batting has led to his downfall on multiple occasions, often taking on one too many shots, but if he can get on top of the West Indies attack, he can put Australia in a strong position.
The big Australian quick comes into the test series in brilliant form, having taken 18 wickets in the 2022 season, with a bowling average of 34.6. Starc currently sits as the 10th-best bowler in the world in the ICC rankings, and he will be raring to go with the new ball on a fast Optus Stadium wicket once again.
With 48 tests under his belt, the now-experienced West Indies number four will be incredibly important to his side’s chances of claiming a result in not only the first Test but the entire series. Blackwood has 289 runs from eight innings in 2022, including a high score of 102 against England on home soil. Blackwood will need to be patient against a fired-up Australian attack.
The fast bowler from the West Indies is certainly someone who will cause a lot of problems for the Australian batting order. It is unlikely Roach will pick up the new ball, however, will be looking to keep the pressure on the Australians with his ability to consistently hit good lengths.
Pat Cummins vs Kraigg Brathwaite
Aside from both players holding the coveted captaincy title, the battle between Cummins and Brathwaite will not only be where the first test is won and lost but could ultimately have a major impact as to which way the series sways.
Brathwaite, who has been in the captaincy role since March 2021, has had an outstanding year in 2022, putting together 491 runs from 10 innings, with an overall average of 70.1. Brathwaite’s highest score of the year came in March earlier this year when he piled on 160 runs against England at Kensington Oval in Barbados. At the top of the order, and facing a tough Australian attack, the opener will need to lead from the front once again.
Pat Cummins’ first summer as Australia’s test captain could not have gone any better, defeating arch-rivals England and winning the much-anticipated contest against Joe Root. Cummins has since gone on to take 25 wickets on the test scene across 12 innings, with a bowling average of 25. Cummins’ best bowling for the year came against Pakistan in Lahore, taking 5/56 leading Australia to a series victory. As a result, the Australian captain remains atop of the ICC rankings as the best Test bowler in the world.
With a fired-up Cummins steaming into Brathwaite on what is set to be a bouncy Optus Stadium wicket, it is set to be a strong contest of bat vs ball and the winner will place their side in good stead to winning the first test.
David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Patrick Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Shamrah Brooks, Tagenairne Chanderpaul, Nkrumah Bonner, Jermaine Blackwood, Kyle Mayers, Joshua Da Silva (wk), Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales
Patrick Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey (wk), Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner
Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Jermaine Blackwood, Shamarh Brooks, Nkrumah Bonner, Tagenairne Chanderpaul, Roston Chase, Joshua Da Silva (wk), Devon Thomas (wk), Jason Holder, Kyle Mayers, Alzarri Joseph, Anderson Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales
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