Australia aim at sealing series in Boxing Day Test
Australia have the chance to cap off a brilliant 2015 with a an unassailable series lead against West Indies in the Boxing Day Test when the two teams lock horns at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday (December 26).
Barring the Ashes series played in England where they lost 3-2, Australia have whitewashed West Indies in the Caribbean and then won the three-Test series against New Zealand 2-0 at home comfortably. Come the second Test, whitewash will be on their minds after a thrashing of an innings and 212 runs in the first Test at Hobart that marked more glaringly the low ebb that West Indies cricket is at.
West Indies, on the other hand, barring the third Test against England in May 2015, have lost all of their subsequent matches, with five losses on the trot.
The visitors will be looking at turning that equation around, but much will have to depend on how their senior players turn up for the match. Errors such as Jerome Taylor turning his back to the on-field proceedings in Geelong or Marlon Samuelss dawdling in Hobart have not helped their cause. Australia, currently at No 3, also have a chance to top the ICC Test rankings if they sweep aside West Indies 3-0, provided South Africa are beaten by England at home.
With overcast conditions expected in Melbourne, the Australian crowds could be in for a dampener to the all-important Boxing Day Test. Usman Khawaja returns to the Australian line-up after having missed the last two Tests due to a hamstring injury.
Making a comeback in the Big Bash League, he belted his way to the first century of this edition. Shaun Marsh, unfortunately, had to make way for him to ensure the stability of the opening pair of David Warner and Joe Burns. Carlos Brathwaite is touted to make his Test debut for West Indies, replacing Shannon Gabriel. The second Test will be West Indies’ first Boxing Day Test since December 2000.