The first-ranked Pat Cummins team insists they won’t take the tourists lightly as they prepare for the first Test against a young West Indies team in Perth this week. The visitors haven’t won on Australian soil in 25 years. In 1997, the Caribbean team triumphed by 10 wickets in Perth thanks to a brilliant century from Brian Lara, but they haven’t won a Test match there since. This week, Lara will be back on the commentary team and he urged the West Indies to put up a fight. “I am not going to say that if we play at our best, we can beat Australia, but I want us to show resilience,” Lara told the Herald Sun newspaper ahead of the two-match series, which moves to Adelaide next week for a day-night Test.
“Get the games going five days. You never know. I have in the back of my mind the thought that these youngsters are up for a fight.” Skipper Kraigg Brathwaite said they were not focusing on past results. “Obviously, past history shows it’s a long time since getting wins in Australia and stuff, but we are focusing on our own goals,” he said. “What is the big focus is that we have 10 days of Test cricket, and we want to be playing a good, solid 10 days of Test cricket.
“We just want to make people in the Caribbean proud.” The intriguing left-hander Tagenarine Chanderpaul, the son of retired batting legend Shivnarine, is expected to be Brathwaite’s new opening partner for the match beginning on Wednesday. After John Campbell, who started alongside Brathwaite against Bangladesh in June, was given a four-year suspension for breaking an anti-doping rule, he received his first call-up to the team.
In a practise match against a Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra, Chanderpaul proved his mettle by hitting 119 and 56. A dangerous pace attack is led by Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales, and the seasoned Jason Holder, with Lara highlighting Joseph as a key danger. “I believe Joseph is going to be special, and Australia is going to know a lot more about him by the end of the series,” he said of the 26-year-old.