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February 11, 2010
The Big PictureAt the start of the series Chris Gayle tipped a 4-1 win for West Indies, but given their predicament he would probably settle for 1-4. Calling the tourists out-classed in the opening exchanges is being polite to guests and if they lose in Sydney on Friday the five-game contest will be decided with two matches spare.
After West Indies' fight in the Test series earlier in the season, the follow-up campaign has been hugely disappointing, although Gayle hasn't been helped by a batch of injuries which kept many of his best men at home. Batting has been the most serious problem, with the tourists managing 143 on the way to a 113-run loss in Melbourne, and 170 in Adelaide after being 4 for 16. The second game, which was watched by only 8378 spectators, was finished in the 27th over of the chase.
Australia have been outstanding throughout the limited-overs segment of the summer and are on a 10-match winning streak. With a 2-0 lead, the hosts have been able to rest key players in Shane Watson and Brad Haddin, but there won't be any relief for West Indies as the locals pursue an undefeated summer.
Form guide (most recent first)Australia WWWWW
Watch out for...Everything for West Indies currently revolves around Chris Gayle. The match in Adelaide was basically over after Gayle's first-ball departure and he must find a way to escape from the restrictions Australia have placed on him. Over the past week Gayle has remained cheery and upbeat in public but in his private moments he must feel like a one-man band. He is so important that at the moment the scenario is Gayle out, game over.
Ricky Ponting has run into some good form with scores of 55, 49 and 57 not out in his past three games, but will be wanting more. With his developing team doing incredibly well, he can relax at the crease, which isn't a good thing for the opposition bowlers. He pulled Kemar Roach in Adelaide, showing he is not haunted by the fast man's short balls which got him in the Perth Test, and will look to sign off with a century to seal the series.
Team newsThe wicketkeeper Tim Paine and Adam Voges come into the squad for Shane Watson and Brad Haddin, who are resting. Paine has opened in 14 of his 15 ODIs and will slot in with Shaun Marsh at the top. With Watson out, Australia could play all four fast men and Nathan Hauritz, which would leave James Hopes and Voges to miss out.
Australia (possible) 1 Shaun Marsh, 2 Tim Paine (wk), 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Clarke, 5 Cameron White, 6 Michael Hussey, 7 Mitchell Johnson, 8 Ryan Harris, 9 Nathan Hauritz, 10 Clint McKay, 11 Doug Bollinger.
West Indies were unchanged in the second game but after two horrible defeats will have to do something to spruce up the side. Gayle has talked about needing some substance in the middle order, which could give Brendan Nash an opening, while Wavell Hinds is another option, possibly for the struggling Runako Morton.
West Indies (possible) 1 Chris Gayle (capt), 2 Wavell Hinds, 3 Travis Dowlin, 4 Narsingh Deonarine, 5 Brendan Nash, 6 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 7 Kieron Pollard, 8 Dwayne Smith, 9 Nikita Miller, 10 Ravi Rampaul, 11 Kemar Roach.
Pitch and conditionsPakistan chose to bowl first at the SCG last month and were rolled for 127 in their chase as the bowlers took advantage of seaming conditions. It has been another wet lead-up and there are storms predicted for Friday afternoon, along with a maximum of 31C. If that happens the bowlers will be happy again.
Stats and trivia
Quotes"At 2-0 down in a five-match series, this is the time for some of our players to come of age."
"Every time we start a series that's our goal, to go undefeated. It's no different in this series. We played really well against Pakistan. We gave them nothing and we'll be doing that against the West Indies."
Shaun Marsh, Australia's opening batsman
The serene team culture cultivated by Misbah and his men shouldn't be allowed to be disrupted by a player with a tainted past
Plays of the day from the fifth ODI in Ranchi
Former Sri Lanka batsman Asanka Gurusinha talks about playing and coaching in Australia, and tactics during the 1996 World Cup
He's past his use-by date as a Test captain and keeper. India now have a chance to test Kohli's leadership skills
Mahela Jayawardene reflects on his Test career, and the need to bridge the gap between international and club cricket in Sri Lanka
Never mind cricket's absence from free-to-air TV - changes in social attitudes, the demands of work, and an individualistic age are all contributing to a decline in participation
Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough