Big Picture: Australia look to make it 5-0
It remains a somewhat uncertain picture, but there is now an increasing amount of rain forecast over the weekend, although even the loss of a day or more of playing time wouldn’t rule out the prospect of a result. The first Test in Adelaide barely reached the third day (none of the three against Pakistan needed a fifth day) and the records Australia’s bowlers possess with the pink ball suggest West Indies batters will be up against it again.
The other factor in play is that should the weather become a major factor, it would leave Australia at risk of dropping crucial World Test Championship [WTC] points if the match was to be a draw. Of course, you don’t want to rule out the visitors, but they would need to play out of their skins to force a win.
It’s all relative, but the batting is the area under a little bit of a spotlight for Australia with just two centuries in four Tests so far this season. They have, ultimately, made enough runs to win – and often comfortably – but Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith and Marnus Labuschagne are on the brink of completing a home season without a Test century between them.
Australia WWWWL (last five matches, most recent first)
West Indies LDLLL
In the spotlight: Marnus Labuschagne and Alzarri Joseph
Team news: Aus unchanged, WI may ponder a bowling switch
Head has tested negative for Covid-19 so is clear to play without restrictions, but Cameron Green may be under protocols having returned a positive test on Wednesday. If he remains positive he will use a separate changing room. Head coach Andrew McDonald also tested positive. If needed, he will sit away from the rest of the squad on game day.
Australia 1 Usman Khawaja, 2 Steven Smith, 3 Marnus Labuschagne, 4 Cameron Green, 5 Travis Head, 6 Mitchell Marsh 7 Alex Carey (wk), 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Pat Cummins (capt), 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Josh Hazlewood
West Indies (possible) 1 Kraigg Brathwaite (capt), 2 Tagenarine Chanderpaul, 3 Kirk McKenzie, 4 Alick Athanaze, 5 Kavem Hodge, 6 Justin Greaves, 7 Joshua Da Silva (wk), 8 Alzarri Joseph, 9 Kemar Roach, 10 Gudakesh Motie/Kevin Sinclair, 11 Shamar Joseph
Stats and trivia: Starc two shy of 350
“It should be good. They are a pretty good attack with some good bowlers. Pink ball when it’s nipping around might suit them like it does for our bowlers. It is always a challenge batting under lights when the ball is new. It is always difficult.”
Steven Smith on the day-night Test