Australia and the West Indies do battle tomorrow in the second Test match at the MCG on Boxing Day – weather pemitting.
The latest forecast for Melbourne is rain in the morning and a thunderstorm in the afternoon, but Sunday’s weather should be brighter and by Monday the sun should be out. Even if tomorrow is a wash-out, Australia will be feeling confident: it took only three days for Australia, led by Steve Smith, to shade the Windies by an innings and 212 runs in the first Test at Blundstone Oval in Hobart.
Opener Usman Khawaja’s return from a hamstring injury suffered against New Zealand was confirmed, at the expense of Shaun Marsh, despite Marsh’s 182 in the first Test. Khawaja sent the selectors a strong message at the weekend when he made a solid return for the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League, smashing 109 not out.
Joe Burns and Shaun Marsh are battling it out to get the final spot in the Australian batting line-up. The West Indies will again be left without stars such as Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and others who have chosen to focus on their Big Bash League campaigns, but captain Jason Holder remains confident that the West Indies can regain focus and provide a challenge to Australia this time round.
Apart from Khawaja replacing Marsh, Smith expects the Australian line-up will be the same as in Hobart, barring any late injuries. – Jesse Mullens
Top photo of the MCG from the Melbourne Cricket Ground Facebook page.