The season of international cricket in Australia begins this week. Australia hosts the West Indies for a three Test series. This first test begins this week at the Gabba.
It is a short sharp and sweet tour for the West Indies. The second test commences a week later in Adelaide and then over to the Perth for the third and final Test.
Then the West Indies leave and don’t come back until February for five one day matches and two Twenty20 internationals.
It will be interesting to see how the West Indies fare in Australia. There is no doubt that they aren’t the team they were of the late 70s and 1980s. They haven’t had the best of lead-ups. They lost coach John Dyson and had to survive a player strike.
Now former wicketkeeper David Williams is in charge and former fast bowler Joel Garner is the manager. The experience of the two, particularly Garner should ensure that off the field they are kept under control. Still cricket betting has the West Indies as rank outsiders.
The West Indies will be up against it with an Australian side eager to bounce back from their Ashes defeat. Not only was there that but the series defeat to South Africa 12 years earlier. The Australian side is still in somewhat of a rebuilding phase but has a more stable look to it than it had a year ago.
Now Peter Siddle has 12 test matches and 49 wickets under his belt. Marcus North has played seven test matches and has three centuries while Ben Hilfenhaus has played eight games.
Last year, Mitchell Johnson was the spearhead of the attack but only by default. He himself wasn’t that experienced. Now he has played 26 Test matches, has 114 wickets to his credit and even a test hundred. He has blossomed into a great bowler and perhaps a fine all-rounder. Currently he average 30 with the bat and 29 with the ball so his number and moving in the right direction.
Against South Africa in Perth, he had one hell of a game. He took 8/61 in the first innings and 3/98 in the second to give him 10 wickets in a match for the first time. He took 11 of the 14 South African wickets to fall. It would help him immeasurably if he had a spinner at the other end who was able to hold down an end.
David Wiseman writes for this blog. He also write about harness betting.