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March 17, 2012
The first match on Friday revealed what a slow surface St Vincent had to offer. Australia's batsmen struggled to get in properly and even when they were well settled, trying to adjust the scoring rate up was nearly always fatal. Fortunately, they had just enough men who made starts to allow them to pass 200. Against a West Indian batting group that lacked discipline, that was enough. Apart from one promising partnership between Dwayne Bravo and Marlon Samuels, and then a few late blows from Darren Sammy, the batting display from West Indies was disheartening. Their batsmen need to put a higher price on their wickets and ensure 50 overs are batted out.
"We played irresponsibly," the captain Sammy said after the game. "We lost a few early wickets and then we had a partnership but then once that partnership was broken we just lost our way in the middle. It is something we really have to work on and work on it very fast because come Sunday, we have to do battle again."
West Indies should know how to play at Arnos Vale, for they have won 17 of the 21 one-day internationals they have played at the venue. But they have now lost 13 consecutive ODIs to Australia, leaving aside one wash-out, and they need to quickly find a way to end that streak. Things might be different if West Indies bat first, for chasing on such a sluggish surface cannot be easy. The Australians have a second spinner, Nathan Lyon, in their squad and given the pitch and the fact that Xavier Doherty took four wickets in the opening game, there will be a temptation to bring Lyon in alongside Doherty.
Form guide(Most recent first)
In the spotlightAustralian fans have heard on the grape-vine about the promising Darren Bravo, but Friday's ODI was the first time he had played against the Australians. He was run out for 4, which didn't reveal much about what he will offer in this series. But should Bravo play a composed innings at No.4, it will go a long way to West Indies being more competitive than they were in the first game.
Xavier Doherty experienced the best and the worst of international cricket on Friday. Marlon Samuels welcomed him by launching three sixes down the ground in his first over but he fought back to take four wickets. Doherty can turn the ball sharply at times but it's his subtle changes that can make him a tricky proposition in the shorter formats, and he will again me a key man on Sunday given the slow surface.
Tino Best and the spinner Devendra Bishoo are the extra members of the West Indies squad. Given how Australia struggled against the spin of Sunil Narine and Marlon Samuels, it will be tempting for the selectors to bring in Bishoo, perhaps at the expense of Andre Russell.
West Indies (possible) 1 Kieran Powell, 2 Johnson Charles, 3 Marlon Samuels, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Carlton Baugh (wk), 8 Darren Sammy (capt), 9 Devendra Bishoo, 10 Sunil Narine, 11 Kemar Roach.
The difficulty for the selectors is that they would like to bring in the second spinner but would also be keen to retain their longer batting line-up given the tricky nature of the pitch. As a batsman who struggled in the first game and does not offer a bowling option, Peter Forrest could be vulnerable, but it is equally possible Australia will take in an unchanged side.
Australia (possible) 1 David Warner, 2 Shane Watson (capt), 3 Matthew Wade (wk), 4 Michael Hussey, 5 David Hussey, 6 George Bailey, 7 Daniel Christian, 8 Brett Lee, 9 Clint McKay, 10 Xavier Doherty, 11 Nathan Lyon.
Pitch and conditions
Two pitches have been prepared at Arnos Vale but it is unlikely the second one will be much different. That means a lack of pace, and batsmen will need to show patience and wait for short balls to put away. Going hard at fuller deliveries carries the risk of mistiming the ball and lobbing catches.
Stats and trivia
Quotes"We've seen what the Australians have, nothing extraordinary but we just have to go out there and be more responsible in our approach."
"When you come to a foreign country you want to make a statement early. We knew it was important to hit the ground running."
Xavier Doherty on Australia's opening victory
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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