Sports, Cricket

Hosts look to shut out the noise as WI face 25 years of history

Published : 29 Nov 2022 07:59 PM

For the first time in nearly seven years, two sides with a great history meet in Test cricket. That history has been sadly one-sided for a long time, but this is an overdue meeting for Australia and West Indies.

The last time West Indies won a Test on these shores was back in 1997 in Perth - the WACA version - when Brian Lara scored a century, and Curtly Ambrose got one to roll along the deck to Greg Blewett from one of the infamous cracks. West Indies' last Test victory against Australia was in 2003, when they chased a world record 418 in Antigua.

West Indies could field four players in their XI who were part of the side that played a damp affair from the two teams' last meeting, which was in Sydney in early 2016: Kraigg Brathwaite, now the captain; his predecessor Jason Holder; Jermaine Blackwood, and Kemar Roach. But for most, this will be a new experience. Moreover, that may not be a bad thing.

Few give them a chance in this series - and it would be a surprise if it was anything other than 2-0 to Australia - but West Indies' Test cricket has shown improvement, albeit mostly at home. However, revivals have to start somewhere. It may sound defeatist, but if they can compete in these two matches, it could provide more building blocks for the future. Their pace attack has the potential to cause problems; it will likely come down to whether they can put enough runs on the board to apply some pressure.

Even though Australia lost their most recent Test - against Sri Lanka in Galle - they are in good shape in the format, as witnessed by the XI being entirely predictable. They are in a very strong position to reach the World Test Championship final - but be careful of those over rates - and a summer of victories will further strengthen their cause.

This will be Perth's first Test since the 2019-20 season when they hosted New Zealand in a day-night game, and it is just the second match at the venue with India having played the year before in an absorbing contest on a spicy pitch. It would be nice to think both those things can be repeated this time.