Australia bat first, Chanderpaul handed West Indies debut

Australia decided to bat against West Indies

Pat Cummins won the toss and elected to bat on an expected fiery Optus Stadium pitch for the first Test between Australia and West Indies.

Australia will have to combat West Indies’ dangerous pace attack on a surface with 10mm of grass left on it with high temperatures forecast on day one.

Returning to Test cricket since their tour of Sri Lanka mid-year, Australia named a full-strength line-up with allrounder Cameron Green playing his first home Test.

West Indies allrounder Raymon Reifer has been ruled out of the two-Test series with a groin injury, while batter Jermaine Blackwood and quick Jayden Seales shrugged off injury concerns to take their place.

Tagenarine Chanderpaul, the son of legendary batter Shivnarine, will make his Test debut after impressing last week with 119 and 56 against the Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra.

Perth is hosting its first Test since December 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but interest has been minimal in the build-up with low crowds tipped throughout the match.

The fallout over ex-coach Justin Langer’s recent inflammatory interview has overshadowed the opening Test of the Australian summer magnified by the match being played in his home city, where he is particularly beloved.

Langer, who has a grandstand named after him at the 60,000-seat Optus Stadium, was on the ground before play chatting to several Australia players and he gave Cummins a hug in what could be a sign of a detente.

West Indies will wear blackarms as a tribute to former wicketkeeper David Murray, who passed away last week aged 72. He played 19 Tests and 10 ODIs from 1978-82.

Australia 1 David Warner, 2 Usman Khawaja, 3 Marnus Labuschagne, 4 Steven Smith, 5 Travis Head, 6 Cameron Green, 7 Alex Carey (wk), 8 Pat Cummins (capt), 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Josh Hazlewood

West Indies 1 Kraigg Brathwaite (capt), 2 Tagnarine Chanderpaul, 3 Nkrumah Bonner, 4 Jermaine Blackwood, 5 Kyle Mayers, 6 Jason Holder, 7 Joshua Da Silva (wk), 8 Roston Chase, 9 Alzarri Joseph, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Jayden Seales

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth