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West Indies v Australia Second ODI: Hosts must spin to win

Ed Hawkins argues that spin bowlers hold they key to a profitable game two in Bridgetown on Thursday…

West Indies v Australia
Thursday 22 July, 19:30
TV: live on BT Sport

Windies disappoint

West Indies will be bitterly disappointed at the manner of defeat in the first ODI. They were smashed by 133 runs as their batting spectacularly imploded.

Against a second-choice Australia batting line-up at least, such a hammering looked inconceivable. Yet consistent runmaking has hardly been a strength for West Indies and shorn of their best player in Shai Hope, who was injured, they wilted.

Hope could miss out again and although Kieron Pollard returned after a hamstring injury to notch a fifty, they now look short on quality.

It was a shame because they had done well with the ball, restricting Australia to 252. Hayden Walsh claimed five wickets and spin partner Akeal Hosein was also a threat as Aussie foibles against tweak were exposed.

Possible XI Lewis, Hetmyer, Bravo, Mohammed, Pooran, Pollard, Holder, Joseph, Walsh, Hosein, Cottrell

What did Australia learn?

Australia will no doubt feel very pleased with themselves for their crushing success. But what did they learn? Mitchell Starc, with five wickets, is an absolute gun? Well, we knew that.

As the series progresses they will hope to garner a bit more. Are Josh Philippe and Ben McDermott, their makeshift opening pair, cut out for international cricket? Is it time to call a halt to the Moises Henriques experiment? Is Wes Agar a genuine bowler at this level?

What is becoming clear is that Ashton Turner is a superb finisher. He was impressive, striking at 108 in a match-turning partnership with Alex Carey. Carey leads the side in the absence of the injured Aaron Finch and will be hoping to nail down a spot. Remember, there is no David Warner, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne or Glenn Maxwell.

Possible XI Philippe, McDermott, M Marsh, Henriques, Carey, Turner, Wade, Starc, W Agar, Hazlewood, Zampa

Pitch report

Australia’s 252 was sub-par for the Kensington Oval but not altogether unsurprising. It is in their make-up to struggle against spin and with Walsh going at 3.90 per over they came up short in that regard. We won’t be playing Sportsbook’s 13/8 that Australia go over 271.5.

Given that trend and West Indies’ problems against a strong pace attack, we’re not inclined to start going over on the runs line. Instead shorting is the way ahead.

If Australia bat first it might be shrewd to start going under when the spinners start doing their work in tandem. And if the Windies are without Hope again, under 220 and 230 will be decent marks to get involved with.

Windies need a foothold

Australia have shortened up to 1.654/6 with West Indies 2.486/4. We’re very glum about the home side who looked passive with the bat as Starc ran in to them.

The problem is we don’t think Australia should be anywhere near as short with the batting they have and the issues which Walsh and Hosein cause them.

The solution is to look for a trade on the home team bowling first. They may not be capable of repelling the Aussie attack for a win but they should be at least capable of a foothold in a chase. And at such a big starting price they also have enough in their on-field armoury to get us some wiggle room.

Tops value

Hope is boosted by Sportsbook to 7/2. Probable openers Evin Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer are 7/2 and 10/3 respectively. We note Jason Holder’s price at 14/1 and will keep an eye on that in-play, having a nibble when, or if, it doubles.

For Australia, Philippe and McDermoot look pricey at 7/2 respectively. The reason for the size is Sportsbook pitching Finch as 11/4 favourite. We’re not sure that he plays. Turner is 10/1.

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