Australia v West Indies 3rd ODI

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au, Photo: AFP
Shane Watson last played an ODI against England on July 7 last year. Photo: AFP/heraldsun.com.au
Australia  can extend its recent domination of the West Indies  by wrapping up the five game One Day International series between the sides at the earliest opportunity in Canberra on Wednesday. After taking the opening two matches in convincing fashion, a win in the nation’s capital would not only be the hosts 16th from the past 19 completed 50 over matches between the sides but also the sixth straight series success for Australia against the Windies.

Shane Watson  is set to return for his first international match since the Boxing Day test against Sri Lanka, with the 31 year-old taking the place of Usman Khawaja in the only change to the host’s squad. Despite making an inglorious comeback for New South Wales when making just six from 23 deliveries against Western Australia in the Ryobi Cup, selectors want to get him back into the national setup before the tour of India. He is likely to bat at number three with Phil Hughes  partnering Aaron Finch  at the top of the order, while left armer spinner Xavier Doherty  could get a look in at Manuka Oval on a wicket that is expected to be more conducive to spin than the pacey WACA surface.

The West Indies are also likely to make changes to their lineup as they try and keep the series alive. Everyone knows what Chris Gayle  can do at the top of the order but his place in the side must be under threat after averaging just 11.2 in his past ten ODI matches. As the only other specialist batsman in the squad, Johnson Charles  would be the man to replace him at the top, although the more likely option is that he plays as wicketkeeper instead of Devon Thomas. If he has recovered sufficiently from the knee injury that ruled him out of the opening two matches, that would allow allrounder Andre Russell  to return to the team after blasting 54 from just 24 deliveries in Canberra against the Prime Minister’s XI last week. Ramnaresh Sarwan  also scored a half century in that match but has two ducks since and needs a big score to keep his place in the side.

This match will be just the third ODI played at Manuka Oval and the first that Australia has been involved in at the ground. 643 runs were scored in the tour match here on January 29 and another high scoring match is likely.

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