Australia-v-West-Indies-1st-test-Preview

Australia will aim to continue piling up misery when they take on the West Indies in the first Test of their three-match series, in the Frank Worrell Trophy, starting on Thursday at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart. Even though the pace attack of the Australian team stands severely depleted with Mitchell Starc ruled out of the Australian summer and Mitchell Johnson retiring from international cricket during the series against New Zealand, the hosts should not face many troubles in routing the West Indies once again. The second and third Tests of this Frank Worrell Trophy 2015-16 will be played at Melbourne and Sydney, and there will be no day-night Test unlike in the series against New Zealand which ended a few days ago. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs West Indies 2015-16, 1st Test at Hobart

The last time when the two sides met earlier this year, Australia were on song as they slammed a hapless West Indies 2-0 in their backyard. But this was before the Ashes, and since then the Australian cricket team has gone through many changes. As many as six frontline cricketers have retired including Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Shane Watson, Chris Rogers and Ryan Harris — who did not play in the series in the Caribbean. But this should not stop the Australians from winning yet another bilateral affair against the West Indies. COMPLETE COVERAGE: Australia vs West Indies, the Frank Worrell Trophy 2015-16

There are serious questions over the compatibility of the West Indians, who used to enjoy intense rivalry with the Australians a few decades ago. But the gradual decline in the Caribbean cricket has ensured that those intense on-field contests and battles have become rare features, as most of the times it has been one-way traffic, which is generally in the favour of the Australians.

It has been more than 20 years that the West Indies last defeated Australians in a Test series, and they have lost the Frank Worrell Trophy on all occasions barring the series that was played in 1998-99. Since the beginning of this millennium, Australia have slammed the West Indies on all seven occasions, and with the upcoming series being heavily tilted ion favour of the hosts, the triumph of the Caribbean side looks highly unlikely.

Australia, who will be missing the services of Starc, have already announced their playing eleven. While David Warner and Joe Burns continue as the opening pair, James Pattinson has found a place in the team. Steven Smith will continue to bat at No. 3, and Shaun Marsh, who has found a place in the team due to Usman Khawaja’s injury, will be keen on making runs and try and cement his place in the side.

Nathan Lyon will also be the center of attraction as the leading Australian off-spinner will be playing his 50th Test at Hobart. Lyon has been in good form, in the series against New Zealand he claimed 10 wickets in three Tests.

On the other hand, the series will be no less than a battle to regain respect, for the West Indies. The Caribbean side was written off even before they landed on the Australian shores, and the 10-wicket thrashing handed out to them by the Cricket Australia XI proved that the going will be very tough for Jason Holder’s men. The West Indies continue to remain without the services of players like Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, who is injured.

Squads:

Australia XI for 1st Test: David Warner, Joe Burns, Steven Smith (c), Adam Voges, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill (wk), Peter Siddle, Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon.

West Indies squad for Australia tour: Jason Holder (c), Kraigg Brathwaite, Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Rajendra Chandrika, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Jomel Warrican.

Time: 10:30 local | 23:30 GMT | 05:00 IST

(DevarchitVarma is senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)