Australia and West Indies start their ‘best of five’ ODI series at the MCG on Sunday. Australia will be looking to continue their good form after giving an indifferent Pakistan side a good beating in all three formats of the game.
Ok, so Pakistan were indifferent at best, bloody awful most other times, but you can only beat whats in front of you and the Aussies did that in ruthless fashion.
They are also now establishing a squad of capable players, whether that be by accident after what happened in India, who knows? But it appears to be working.
Ricky Ponting can now pick any three from four of his seamers, Mitchell Johnson, Doug Bollinger, Clint McKay or Ryan Harris to complement his attack with all rounder Shane Watson and the spin of Nathan Hauritz.
Waiting in the wings he then has Shaun Tait. Added to that, there is Nathan Bracken, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus all working their ways back to fitness. There is also still a possibility Brett Lee might come back as well, just in case they are ever short of bowlers!!
The batting all but picks itself with Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Watson and White. And behind the stumps Brad Haddin knows how well Tim Paine did while he was out injured if he ever lets his performances dip.
West Indies come into the series in a rather bullish mood, with captain Chris Gayle predicting a 4-1 series victory for the tourists. It’s not surprising to find Gayle in a confident mood after his performances in the Test series, but maybe he might have been wiser not to make a statement like that.
Only time will tell, but in case he needs reminding, Australia are the Number 1 ranked One Day side in the world, they have won 20 of their last 24 ODI’s, and are the current World Cup and Champions Trophy holders.
West Indies have some exciting youngsters of their own though, with big hitting Kieron Pollard and fast bowler Kemar Roach, both wanting to further impress. On the negative side they also have injuries to Dwayne Bravo, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Fidel Edwards.
They are one of those sides that are capable of beating anyone on their day though, they have match winners with both bat and ball, and shouldn’t be underestimated. If they can bring all their talent to the party and perform to the best of their abilities, then the public could well be in for a far more competitive series than what has gone on just recently.
For the 1st ODI, it will come as no great shock to discover that Australia are favourites for the match, they are a best price of 3/10 with William Hill. West Indies are 3/1 with Totesport.
To win the series outright, Australia are 1/6 with Stan James, and West Indies are 11/2 with Sky Bet.