The first men’s Test of the Australian summer has finally arrived with Pat Cummins confirming his XI for the first match against the West Indies on these shores in seven years.
Ashes hero Scott Boland has been left out of the XI (scroll down) with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood joining Cummins in the three-man pace attack.
Meanwhile, the first Test pitch has been revealed 24 hours out form the first ball with a significant green tinge to the Perth Stadium surface.
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Warner’s warning for Green’s IPL dream | 01:14
The curator has left 12mm of grass on the pitch, with most decks closer to 8mm.
He is fearful with temperatures in the high 30s on Tuesday and day one on Wednesday the pitch may crack up a lot, hence the extra grass coverage.
Kraigg Brathwaite’s team have it all to do to upset red hot favorites 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.
AUSTRALIA VS WEST INDIES SERIES PREVIEW
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.
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 will lead the pace attack, with three-Test sensation Scott Boland kept on the sidelines despite his breakout summer in 2021-22 against England where he took 18 wickets at 9.55 in three matches.
Boland is the only change Australia has made since its last Test in Australia, last January.
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.
Like father, like son? Chanderpaul stars | 02:49
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 Minister’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.
Smith explains change in technique 02:37
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 Minister’s XI in what will be his Test debut.
Their pace 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 favorites, 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
Confirmed 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.
FOX CRICKET TALENT TIPS
Result: Australia 2-0
Most runs: Usman Khawaja
Most wickets: Mitchell Starc
Player of the series: Mitchell Starc
Result: Australia 2-0
Most runs: Marnus Labuschagne
Most wickets: Josh Hazlewood
Player of the series: Josh Hazlewood
Result: Australia 2-0
Most runs: Steve Smith
Most wickets: Pat Cummins
Player of the series: Steve Smith
Lara recalls Warne’s breakout moment | 03:55
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