The first men’s Test of the Australian summer has finally arrived with a new look West Indies team coming to these shores for the first time in seven years.
Kraigg Brathwaite’s team have it all to do to upset red hot favourites Australia, who are coming off a convincing 4-0 Ashes series triumph over England the last time they played at home.
Find out everything you need to know about the Test series starting on Wednesday in our Ultimate Guide.
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The Australians carry an identical line-up to the one that dominated England last summer with Usman Khawaja to partner David Warner at the top of the order after originally being recalled at No.5.
Khawaja is currently sitting on 888 runs for the calendar year and can pass the 1000 mark in the first test in Perth, with his fifth century since being recalled for the Sydney Test, while he also had two scores of 90 against Pakistan.
Marnus Labuschagne is at No.3 with Steve Smith predicted to have a big summer at No.4 after tweaking his batting stance to better counter the short-ball tactics that have seen his brilliant record come back to earth in recent seasons.
Travis Head will be looking to put a poor record away from home behind him and dominate on Australian soil as he has in recent home series, while he is coming off a century at the top of the order in one day cricket.
Cameron Green rounds out the top six and will be searching for his maiden Test century after a couple of near misses last summer, while his seamers offer the bowling attack a point of difference and the luxury of some respite for the frontline quicks.
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Alex Carey is another player hunting his first Test century and will offer some batting insurance in the middle to lower order.
Skipper Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc are tipped to lead the pace attack, with three-Test sensation Scott Boland offering more than handy back-up after his breakout summer in 2021-22 against England where he took 18 wickets at 9.55 in three matches.
Spinner Nathan Lyon will be looking to bring up 450 Test wickets this summer with just 12 to get (438) and is a lock after being the only spinner named in the squad.
Back-up batsman Marcus Harris was the only surprise addition to the squad, which was announced before Matthew Renshaw’s twin high scores for the Prime Minister’s XI in a match where Harris failed in both innings.
For the West Indies, only four players from their last tour in 2015/16 return in captain Kraigg Brathwaite, Jason Holder, Kemar Roach and Jermaine Blackwood.
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Like Australia, the tourists failed to progress to the knockout stages of the T20 World Cup, but a fair few of their players have had time to adjust to the conditions after arriving in October for the short format tournament.
Coach Phil Simmons will stand down from his post after the Test series following their poor results in the T20 group stages.
The tourists have so far drawn their tour match against a combined NSW-ACT XI and had a strong game against the Prime Minster’s XI in a day-nighter that was also drawn.
Their top order has been plagued by inconsistency, but centuries to Blackwood and Joshua De Silva against England and Kyle Myers against Bangladesh in two home series victories are cause for optimism.
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Tagenarine Chanderpaul, 26, the son of West Indies great Shivrnarine is set to partner Braithwaite at the top of the order after his century against the Prime Minsters’ XI in what will be his Test debut.
Their poace attack includes veterans in former skipper Holder and Kemar Roach, while Alzarri Joseph and Jayden Seales are both exciting youngsters with good pace, while Roston Chase will be the spinner.
Australia will go in as hot favourites, but the West Indies have some star power that makes them an unpredictable and exciting team heading into the first Test series of the summer.
Australia: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner
Probable XI: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Shamarh Brooks, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Roston Chase, Joshua Da Silva, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Anderson Phillip, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales, Devon Thomas
Probable XI: Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Nkrumah Bonner, Jermaine Blackwood, Kyle Mayers, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Joshua Da Silva (wk), Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales.
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HOW TO WATCH
Australia’s Test series against West Indies will be broadcast on Foxtel and Kayo Sports. Kayo offers a free trial for new subscribers, sign up here.
Fans of the wireless will also be able to listen to all the action via SEN, ABC and Triple M, with all audio streams available on the CA Live app.
First Test: November 30 – December 4 at Perth Stadium, 1:20pm (AEDT)
Second Test: December 8-12 at Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, 2:30pm (AEDT)
PERTH WEATHER FORECAST
Wednesday: 35, partly cloudy (0% chance)
Thursday, 25, partly cloudy (10% chance)
Friday: 27, cloud clearing (0% chance)
Saturday: 29, mostly sunny (5% chance)
Sunday: 30, mostly sunny (10% chance)
Buy tickets at cricket.com.au here.
West Indies: $10.00
* As of Tuesday November 29