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May 29, 2008
Friday, May 30 to Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Start time 10.00 (local), 14.00 (GMT)
The Big PictureAustralia were expected to dominate the three-Test series but the opening game was hard fought and the 95-run margin in favour of Australia did not reflect the tight nature of the contest for most of its five days. West Indies produced several brilliant passages of play, although their inability to maintain the pressure over several days let them down. Their side should be strengthened by some key additions in Antigua, while Australia are likely to make one change. Australia need only draw to retain the Frank Worrell Trophy; West Indies must win to keep the series alive.
Test form guideWest Indies - LWLLL
West Indies should be a stronger unit in Antigua with the likely returns of Chris Gayle (groin) and Jerome Taylor (back). Gayle will reclaim the captaincy if he is declared fit but more importantly he will give them some genuine class at the top of the order. Of the two men who opened in Kingston, Devon Smith's form was better so he may partner Gayle with Brenton Parchment to miss out. The return of Taylor would give West Indies a genuinely threatening pace attack, given Fidel Edwards' form at Sabina Park, and Taylor is likely to be a direct swap with the axed spinner Amit Jaggernauth.
West Indies (possible) 1 Chris Gayle (capt), 2 Devon Smith, 3 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 4 Runako Morton, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Darren Sammy, 9 Jerome Taylor, 10 Daren Powell, 11 Fidel Edwards.
Australia were also hoping to have two big names back in their side after missing the first Test, although only one will make it to Antigua. Michael Clarke, who initially stayed at home for family reasons, will slot back into the vice-captaincy and the No. 5 position, meaning another rest for Brad Hodge. The other part of Australia's plan was for Matthew Hayden to come back but his persistent achilles tendon injury has forced him to fly home, which gives Simon Katich a reprieve in the opening role after a disappointing effort at Sabina Park.
Australia (probable) 1 Phil Jaques, 2 Simon Katich, 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Hussey, 5 Michael Clarke, 6 Andrew Symonds, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Brett Lee, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Stuart Clark, 11 Stuart MacGill.
Umpires: Russell Tiffin, Mark Benson.
Watch out for ...Jerome Taylor West Indies' attack was dangerous enough with Edwards as the spearhead and Powell backing him up, but if Taylor returns they could cause even more problems for Australia's top order. He is regarded as the best of their current fast men and he will be keen to impress if he faces Australia for the first time in a Test.
Simon Katich The departure of Hayden gives Katich a chance to settle into the opening position without wondering if he will be on the sidelines for the next match. Katich is not typically an opener for New South Wales, although he has performed the role on and off, and he will be aiming for a calmer approach than in Jamaica, where he tried to score too quickly. A run-machine at state level in 2007-08, he has the potential to become a long-term member of the Test side once again.
Pitch & conditionsFor 25 years, the home of Test cricket in the country was the Antigua Recreation Ground, which hosted some high-scoring matches including both occasions Brian Lara set new Test records of 375 and 400 not out. It was also the venue where West Indies last beat Australia in a Test match, in 2003. But that was the old ground - the newly constructed Sir Vivian Richards Stadium is hosting its first Test and the pitch and surface are slightly unknown quantities. The teams won't have a chance to look at the pitch until the day before the Test..
Weather: It could be a stop-start occasion with scattered showers predicted for most of the Test.
Stats and triviaThe stadium was a gift from China, built ahead of last year's World Cup in the Caribbean. Australia are the only team to post more than 300 at the ground in an ODI, when Hayden led the way with 158 against West Indies. The stadium had one of the most popular wading pools among Australia supporters during the World Cup and the touring fans who visit for the Test will be hoping for more luck than at Sabina Park, where the pool suffered a severe puncture mid-way through the match and flooded the surrounding area.
Ricky Ponting begins the Test needing 61 runs to become the seventh man to reach 10,000 Test runs. If he achieves the milestone during the West Indies tour, Ponting will be the second-fastest to the mark in terms of Tests played, behind only Brian Lara.
Quotes"Haydos' presence is a big thing for us but we've got two [openers] who can generally score pretty quickly and will be looking forward to putting some pressure back on the West Indies bowlers up front in this game."
"We've got to be positive, we've got a lot to take from the first Test. We had Fidel Edwards bowling very well, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul's hundred in which I thought he showed a lot of determination, and it's important that we take a page out of the way they approached things."
West Indies' captain Ramnaresh Sarwan
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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