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West Indies batting must adapt to tricky conditions to keep series alive

Written by 
Published in Cricket
Wednesday, 21 July 2021 17:58
Play 01:05
Alex Carey: Starc, Hazlewood put on a clinic in the first 10 overs

Big Picture

Australia continue to look much more at home in the 50-over format than the T20 game, which has pretty much been the way over the last year. Their strength on this tour lies in the bowling department and it showed in the way Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood cut through West Indies' top order.

The batting display was far from dynamic, but it was one that suited a tricky surface reasonably well and given the experimental nature of the line-up they kept their composure after being 114 for 4. Captain Alex Carey was key to that with a well-constructed half-century that built on the hundred he made against England last year and Ashton Turner played an important hand.

West Indies were very poor with the bat. On a surface that made stroke-making a challenge - only Kieron Pollard scored freely and he had nothing to lose - they missed Shai Hope at the top of the order to offer a measured anchor for the chase. The shots of Darren Bravo and Jason Holder were disappointing for senior players.

However, Hayden Walsh Jr continued to spin a web around the Australia batting taking his five wickets in 16 balls. He would likely enjoy a scenario defending a decent target where there is run-rate pressure on the batters.

Form guide

(last five completed matches)
West Indies LWWWL
Australia WLWWWL

In the spotlight

Since the 2019 World Cup, ODI cricket has not been a good format for Jason Holder. In 15 matches he averages 13.28 with the bat and 69.60 with the ball. In the opening match he was the most expensive of West Indies' pace bowlers then followed it with a duck. At his best, as a batter capable of being in the top six and a new-ball bowler, he is the ideal player to balance the XI but his team could do with an uptick in returns.

Ashton Turner made a promising return for just the seventh ODI of his career and the first outside of India. It was his spectacular unbeaten 84 off 43 balls in Mohali in 2019, as Australia chased 359, that put his name up in lights but also left him a tough act to follow. While a host of big names are missing this series there could yet be a middle-order spot for Turner in the future if he can build on his good start.

Team news

West Indies' original squad has been hit by injuries to Shai Hope (ankle), Fabian Allen (side) and Roston Chase (thigh).

West Indies (possible) 1 Evin Lewis, 2 Shimron Hetmyer, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Jason Mohammed, 5 Nicholas Pooran (wk), 6 Kieron Pollard (capt), 7 Jason Holder, 8 Alzarri Joseph, 9 Akeal Hosein, 10 Hayden Walsh Jr, 11 Sheldon Cottrell

Whether Australia make any changes may depend on the fitness of Aaron Finch otherwise the team deserves another run out. The only consideration might be if there is a need for another spinner.

Australia (possible) 1 Ben McDermott, 2 Josh Philippe, 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 Moises Henriques, 5 Alex Carey (wk), 6 Ashton Turner, 7 Matthew Wade, 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Wes Agar, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood

Pitch and conditions

It was a two-paced surface with the ball gripping for seamers and spinners which suggests Australia's 250 might be a good total throughout. The expectation is that the next pitch will be similar. The forecast says there could be some showers during the match.

Stats and trivia

  • Mitchell Starc now has eight five-wicket hauls in ODIs which puts him one behind Brett Lee as the most for Australia
  • Hayden Walsh Jr now has his best bowling figures in ODIs and T20Is against Australia

Quotes

"There were a couple of soft dismissals and we knew Australia are very dangerous with the new ball, especially Mitchell Starc in the first two or three overs and we weren't able to negotiate that."
Kieron Pollard

The ball has been coming out pretty well, T20 is sometimes hard to judge yourself on but yesterday was really good fun. That's probably one of the best starts we've had so pretty happy
Josh Hazlewood

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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