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March 7, 2012
Match factsMarch 16
The last time West Indies beat Australia in an ODI, at the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy, Adam Gilchrist, Damien Martyn, Ricky Ponting, Andrew Symonds, Nathan Bracken and Glenn McGrath were among the names on Australia's team sheet. West Indies had almost as many players no longer in contention for spots, and it is poignant to note that the top scorer in Mumbai that day was Runako Morton, who was killed last week in a car accident in Trinidad. Since that time both sides have gone through an enormous amount of changes, though one thing has remained consistent - Australia have dominated West Indies, winning 13 of 14 matches, with one no-result, since.
So it is no surprise that most are expecting an improving Australia to enjoy themselves against Darren Sammy's hosts, and the visitors' coaches and selectors have expressed the view that their team should "win well" in the Caribbean. But Sammy and his players have been building recently, developing a team of more united intentions and greater work ethic than some of whom represented the region in the past. Sammy has shown himself to be a capable leader, while in Darren Bravo the team has perhaps the most compelling young batting talent in the world. Ravi Rampaul's bustling seam and swing will be missed. The hosts also have the advantage of slow, teasing conditions that Australia must adapt to, and Arnos Vale should provide a solid example of the surfaces expected throughout the tour.
Following on from a richly successful home summer, Australia's squad is a little thin for the moment, as injury has ruled out Ben Hilfenhaus and James Pattinson while Brad Haddin has caused contingency plans to be swung into action by withdrawing from the tour due to personal reasons. All these factors will present challenges for the acting captain Shane Watson, as he guides the team abroad for the first time.
Form guideWest Indies LLWLL (Most recent first)
In the spotlightDwayne Bravo is returning to the West Indies side for the first time since mid-2011, when he withdrew from the team in order to regain his focus. He has been handed the vice-captaincy, and is keen to make an impact as one of the few members of the team to have meaningful experience against Australia. "We have a very young team and, as one of the senior players, I have to step in and make my presence felt," Bravo said this week. "The fire is still blazing in me. I will be bringing the same level of enthusiasm and commitment that I always had. That is the only way I know how to play, by giving my all to the team."
Much has changed for Matthew Wade on match eve. Brad Haddin's return home to Australia for personal reasons leaves Wade to contemplate the possibility of his elevation to the Test team, while he also knows that for the time being he is the only qualified gloveman on the tour. Having made a highly promising start to his international career, demonstrating a fighting instinct as well as plenty of skill, Wade's position is growing in responsibility.
Johnson Charles may debut at the top of the order, while the hosts must juggle a surfeit of allrounders with the possibility of a slow, turning surface.
West Indies (possible) 1 Kieran Powell, 2 Johnson Charles, 3 Marlon Samuels, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Andre Russell, 8 Carlton Baugh (wk), 9 Darren Sammy (capt), 10 Sunil Narine, 11 Kemar Roach.
With Ben Hilfenhaus and James Pattinson not yet fit to play and Brad Haddin flying home from the tour, the tourists' options are limited. George Bailey will debut, while Shane Watson is a chance to return to opening while Matthew Wade drops down the order.
Australia 1 David Warner, 2 Shane Watson (capt), 3 Peter Forrest, 4 Michael Hussey, 5 David Hussey, 6 George Bailey, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Daniel Christian, 9 Brett Lee, 10 Clint McKay, 11 Xavier Doherty.
Pitch and conditions
Arnos Vale is known for producing a slowish pitch that can take turn, and early inspection of the surface by both sides suggested something similar for the series opener.
Stats and trivia
Quotes"An unknown opposition does present a lot more challenges.They can certainly hit you hard up front and we could be chasing our tails for the rest of the series."
"We're playing Australia but we're not going to play names, we're just going to go out there and play good positive cricket and hopefully we could come out on top. We've got to believe we have it."
Darren Sammy isn't worrying about the names on the Australian team sheet.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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