Unbeaten Australia turn attention to Twenty20
Sunday, February 21, Bellerive Oval
Start time 1835 (0735 GMT)
The Big Picture
The one-day series has been one-sided but Twenty20 tends to close the gap between teams and Australia are yet to beat West Indies in the format. The prospect of Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, David Warner and Shane Watson striking, and Shaun Tait and Kemar Roach blitzing them at 150kph-plus does hold some appeal.
For West Indies, the aim is to finish the tour with some positives ahead of their home series against Zimbabwe and Gayle believes the format gives them their best chance of success. "We've got a lot of allrounders in our team so the shorter form of the game definitely can suit us," he said. "We can be a bit more dangerous in the T20 games."
For Australia, the plan is to see some new players in action ahead of the ICC World Twenty20. Steven Smith, Travis Birt and Daniel Christian should feature either in Hobart or in the second game in Sydney, and there will be Caribbean trips up for grabs if they perform well. They are also aiming to move one step closer to an unbeaten home summer across all three formats.
The match is a milestone for Bellerive Oval, which is hosting a night international for the first time after having floodlights installed during the off-season and unlike the ODIs, this game is already a sellout. There is also a curtain-raiser Twenty20 to be played between the Australia and New Zealand women's teams, part of which will be broadcast in Australia in the lead-up to the men's match.
Form guide (most recent first)Australia WNLLL
West Indies WLWLW
Watch out for...
How can you not watch out for Chris Gayle in a Twenty20 match? He is the only man to have scored a Twenty20 international century and last time he faced Australia in the format, he mauled them with 88 from 50 balls in an innings that won him Cricinfo's award for the best Twenty20 performance of the year. In the past year he has launched balls onto the roof at The Oval and the WACA and into someone's backyard in Napier. Bellerive residents should make sure their home insurance policies cover not only acts of God but also acts of Gayle.
Travis Birt's Twenty20 international debut against Pakistan earlier this month was a forgettable occasion as he was bowled trying to paddle sweep his second ball. He will have learnt from that experience and will feel more comfortable in the quieter surrounds of his home ground in Hobart rather than a busy MCG. He is also coming off a wonderful 93 this week that surged Tasmania in to the FR Cup final.
Team newsAustralia are fine-tuning their team ahead of the World Twenty20, which starts in late April. There are several fresh faces in a squad that does not feature Ricky Ponting, who has retired from the format, or Michael Hussey, who appears to be out of favour in Twenty20. The allrounder Daniel Christian is hoping to make his debut but in a squad of 14, he may have to wait until the second match in Sydney for his first appearance.
Australia (possible) 1 Shane Watson, 2 David Warner, 3 Michael Clarke (capt), 4 David Hussey, 5 Cameron White, 6 Travis Birt, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Steven Smith, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Dirk Nannes, 11 Shaun Tait.
West Indies are using the same squad as they had for the ODIs, which means that their options are limited. Travis Dowlin hasn't covered himself in glory in the 50-over games but the gritty back-up batsman Brendan Nash will find it hard to dislodge him. Kemar Roach should return to the line-up having been out of the past three ODIs.
West Indies (possible) 1 Chris Gayle (capt), 2 Travis Dowlin, 3 Lendl Simmons, 4 Narsingh Deonarine, 5 Wavell Hinds, 6 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 7 Kieron Pollard, 8 Dwayne Smith, 9 Darren Sammy, 10 Nikita Miller, 11 Kemar Roach.
Pitch and conditionsBellerive Oval usually provides a good batting surface and in the two Big Bash matches this summer, the first-innings totals were 194 and 167. The forecast for Sunday in Hobart is fine and 25C.
Stats and trivia
- West Indies and Australia have met in only two Twenty20 internationals and West Indies won them both, in Barbados in 2008 and at The Oval last year
- Australia's recent record in the format is miserable; until their win over Pakistan a fortnight ago they had lost their previous five completed Twenty20s
- Michael Clarke is one of 24 men who have played at least 20 international Twenty20 games; of those, only Umar Gul, Lasith Malinga and Mark Boucher have hit fewer sixes than Clarke, and only that trio have lower high scores than Clarke's 37
"We've got a good record against Australia, we're two and zip. The guys are pretty confident. The shorter version of the game we've got guys that can destroy any attack - Pollard, Smith and Chris Gayle - so it's going to be good fun."
David Williams, the West Indies coach
"If you look at the balance of our team and the balance of their team, you'd probably still think that we've got a fair advantage over them."
Ricky Ponting has retired from Twenty20s but will be in Hobart to watch his colleagues
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.