Steven Smith is the skipper of Australia © Getty Images
Steven Smith is the skipper of Australia © Getty Images

Australia’s tri-nation series will kick off against the host West Indies in Match No. 2 at Guyana’s Providence Stadium. The hosts had a successful start, beating the strong South African team in the first match. Despite the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and Darren Sammy out of the squad, they produced a near perfect display to put the Proteas on the back foot. This result must have done a world of good to their confidence, and will help them get the better of ODI No.1 Australia. The Aussies are the current 50-over World Cup holders, and are buoyed by the return of Mitchell Starc from injury. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: West Indies vs Australia, 2nd ODI Match

Both sides follow an aggressive brand of cricket. Hence, the quality on show will be second to none. With the hosts aiming to make it two from two, let’s have a look at the battles that will have a significant impact on the result of the contest:

1. David Warner vs Jerome Taylor: One of the stars of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016, Warner set the tournament on fire with his excellent captaincy and even better batting. And, after that show, Australia would have regretted not playing him at the opening slot during the ICC World T20 2016. His contest will be against a player who has not had enough game time of late. With Russell not in the squad, Jerome Taylor will be given the responsibility to keep Warner at bay. In the first match against South Africa, Taylor bowled tight line and length. If Warner is removed early, WI might have a good chance to expose Australia’s middle-order. ALSO READ: WI vs AUS, Tri-Nation Series 2016, Match 2: Predictions and Preview

2. Steven Smith vs Sunil Narine: If Australia are to dominate their opponents, skipper Smith will be the key to their success. Probably the best batsman in his side and undoubtedly the best player of spin, he will be expected to hold the innings together. And, against him will be a player who is enjoying his renaissance. Narine returned with his new bowling action in IPL 2016 and managed to scalp 11 wickets. His best was yet to come though, as he tore apart the South African middle order the other night, going on to scalp 6 for 27. It will be a swashbuckling contest, knowing Smith is the only batsman in the side who can tackle Narine’s wily spin.

3. Mitchell Marsh vs Carlos Brathwaite: It’s about time Mitchell Marsh realises his potential as a complete all-rounder. While he has shown his quality with the bat, a similar impact with the ball is yet to be witnessed. And should Australia go in with two spinners, he will be expected to be the third seamer. On the other side is the monstrous Carlos Brathwaite. A player, who can turn the game with both bat and ball, Brathwaite has been gaining reputation. The other night against South Africa, his bowling talent was on view, as he scalped 2 wickets conceding 35 runs. If either of these players have a good day, expect huge damage with both bat and ball.

Special Mention – Mitchell Starc vs Kieron Pollard: Who can forget the infamous fight between these two players in IPL 2015. That night, Starc had a few words to say to the West Indian, who shooed him away. But then, Pollard lost his cool and threw the bat after Starc deliberately bowled at him when the batsman wasn’t ready. Expect a few fireworks should they face off on the pitch.

(R Narayan is a reporter with CricketCountry, and is an ardent cricket and football enthusiast (big Manchester United fan). Having followed cricket since 2003, he likes high scoring matches as well as good fast bowling. His Twitter handle is @RNarayan24nov)