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Match eve: Windies seen in poor light

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2000, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Brisbane: The current West Indian team is so poorly regarded heading into the five-Test series with Australia that even their legendary greats give them scant hope.Steve Waugh's Australians are one match away from equalling the West Indies' world record sequence of 11 Test wins established 16 years ago and nobody it seems is betting against them.Coming off their disastrous 3-1 series loss to England earlier this year with capitulating defeats in the final two Tests, the West Indies don't appear to have recovered from the humiliation.Just four days before Thursday's opening Test in Brisbane, Jimmy Adams' tourists crashed to an embarrassing innings and 63-run defeat to an under-strength Victoria inside three days.That followed an emphatic seven-wicket loss to Western Australia in Perth. Bookies have Australia overwhelming favourites to crush the West Indians, some even forecasting a loss inside three or four days.The Windies' management team of coach Roger Harper, assistant coach Jeff Dujon and captain Jimmy Adams have been working hard to instill some backbone into the team in the face of their agonising plight."The batting has been our problem for a considerable period of time and that's what's got to be put right," Harper said. "The batsmen are the players with more experience than the bowlers in general, and they're the one's who've got to dig deep within themselves and find that extra bit."But the tourists will certainly not find Waugh's team holding a smidgen of compassion when the battle ensues on Thursday. Hard-bitten Waugh has painful memories of when the West Indies lorded over world cricket in the 1980s with six of Clive Lloyd's stellar team's 11 consecutive wins over Australia. Waugh insists complacency will not be a problem for his team and the captain will address the issue only once. "We'll talk about it and we'll try and mention it just once this season," Waugh said."We're professional enough to know there's a lot to play for and there is a lot of guys wanting a spot in the Australian side. That's enough incentive to play well."The Australians are relishing the prospect of a role reversal and turning their zestful pace attack on to the unstable West Indian batting lineup.Wet weather has hampered preparations for the Gabba pitch, which has been relaid after the ground hosted preliminary round football matches at the Olympic Games last September."It's a bit hard to say what it's really going to do but it won't be easy to score runs on it and I think you'll find the better players come to the fore," curator Kevin Mitchell Junior said of the pitch.The West Indies will name their team late Wednesday.

UNI

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