Australia Faces Covid and Weather Challenges in Second West Indies Test

Australia Faces Covid and Weather Challenges in Second West Indies Test

Brisbane (Australia) (AFP) – As Australia aims to complete a clean sweep of the summer Test series, they confront an outbreak of Covid-19 and adverse weather conditions in their upcoming match against the West Indies in Brisbane.

Having already secured victories against Pakistan in December and early January, the world Test champions comfortably defeated the West Indies by 10 wickets in Adelaide last week. They are highly favored to continue their dominance in the pink-ball Test at the Gabba, a format in which the Australians excel.

However, Covid-19 has affected the Australian camp, with allrounder Cameron Green and coach Andrew McDonald being the latest to contract the virus on Wednesday. They fell ill after batter Travis Head tested positive at the end of the first Test. While Head has since tested negative and will participate in the Brisbane match, Green’s involvement will depend on his health.

Cricket Australia confirmed that Green and McDonald will be isolated from the team until they return a negative test. However, Green is expected to take part in the match as per Cricket Australia protocols.

In addition to the Covid-19 challenges, Australia may also have to contend with the impending effects of Cyclone Kirrily, which is set to cross the North Queensland coast in the coming days. Although Thursday’s weather is predicted to be fine, showers are forecasted for Friday, with heavy rain expected from Saturday to Monday.

Despite Australia entering the match as clear favorites, they will be concerned about the performance of their top six batters. Only Travis Head, with his impressive first-innings century in Adelaide, managed to surpass the 50-run mark. Conversely, the West Indies faced greater concerns as they were bowled out for under 200 in both innings.

The West Indies heavily rely on their opening pair of Kraigg Brathwaite and Tagenarine Chanderpaul, with the next four batsmen having limited experience, possessing only eight caps collectively. However, the team was encouraged by the impressive Test debut of fast bowler Shamar Joseph, who claimed five wickets in the first innings in Adelaide and contributed valuable runs as number 11.

Veteran paceman Kemar Roach praised Joseph’s abilities, stating that he is destined for greatness if he continues to work hard.

Assuming no further Covid-19 setbacks, Australia is expected to field the same team, giving Steve Smith another opportunity as an opener and Cameron Green a chance at number four, despite both players underperforming in the first Test. Captain Pat Cummins expressed confidence in Smith and number three batsman Marnus Labuschagne, expecting them to make a significant impact in the upcoming match.

Cummins said, “You see how hard they work in the nets and even the way they have gone about their innings, they look like they are set to score a big 100 or 200, as we have seen them do in the past. Smithy, in particular, looked really sharp at the top last week, but just received a good ball. It feels like they are ready to make a significant impact.”