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Morris, Bartlett to debut as Aussies bowl first at MCG

Two fresh faces in Australia's ODI XI, as Steve Smith opts to bowl first against the West Indies in Melbourne

'Just the beginning': Bartlett, Morris receive ODI caps

Lance Morris has been confirmed for his long-awaited international debut, joining fellow first-gamer Xavier Bartlett in a vastly different Australia pace attack to the one that won the World Cup in their most recent one-day international.

The format's most prolific bowler for the past five years, Adam Zampa (123 wickets), will head an otherwise inexperienced bowling line-up alongside Sean Abbott, as stand-in captain Steve Smith won the toss and opted to bowl in the first ODI against the West Indies at the MCG.

The West Indies have also made five changes to the side with Justin Greaves, Kaven Hodge, Roston Chase, Hayden Walsh Jr. and Oshane Thomas coming into the XI that beat England 2-1 in December.

Australia XI: Travis Head, Josh Inglis (wk), Cameron Green, Steve Smith (c), Marnus Labuschagne, Matt Short, Aaron Hardie, Sean Abbott, Xavier Bartlett, Lance Morris, Adam Zampa

 

West Indies XI: Justin Greaves, Alick Athanaze, Keacy Carty, Shai Hope (c, wk), Kaven Hodge, Roston Chase, Romario Shepherd, Matthew Forde, Hayden Walsh Jr., Gudakesh Motie, Oshane Thomas

Both sides are out to build depth to begin a new World Cup cycle, with captain Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Mitch Marsh and Glenn Maxwell rested from the XI that beat India by six wickets in Ahmedabad to lift the World Cup last November, while David Warner has since retired from the format.

The Windies are also looking to the future with eight players in their squad who have played 10 ODIs or fewer, and having missed qualification for last year's global showpiece, they'll be hoping to harness some of their success against Australia in the longer format under recently appointed white-ball head coach Darren Sammy.

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"It's great momentum for us, obviously a different format, but it will be great signs for us to continue what happened in the last Test in this ODI series," captain Shai Hope said at the series launch on Wednesday.

"It's great to deepen that (talent) pool and what's a better way to start your career than here in Australia for some of these guys."

After touring with the Test squad for the best part of the past two summers without playing a game, as well as last year's Border-Gavaskar series in India, selectors have finally given West Australian speedster Morris the nod to receive his first Australian cap (No.245), which was presented by World Cup player of the final Travis Head prior to the toss.

The 25-year-old right-armer nicknamed the 'Wild Thing' by teammates enters the three-match series following a career-best KFC BBL campaign for the Perth Scorchers (13 wickets at an economy of 7.96), and he's also taken six wickets for striking every 18 deliveries in his two games for WA in this season's Marsh Cup.

Bartlett, who was presented with Australia ODI cap No.244 by state teammate Marnus Labuschagne, has stormed into national calculations by topping the BBL|13 wickets tally with 20 in the Brisbane Heat's title-winning campaign.

Also 25, the right-armer sat out of the first half of the domestic season for Queensland to prioritise the Big Bash after returning from a club stint in the UK with a back stress injury and has developed into a versatile bowler with the new ball, in the Power Surge and at the death under the tutelage of former Bulls and Australian quick Andy Bichel.

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"I've had a few layoffs with injuries and have just been trying to hone my skills with our bowling coach in Queensland, Andy Bichel, he's been really good for me," Bartlett said yesterday.

"Having that extended layoff, which it is frustrating, now standing here you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"But I still need to improve on a lot of things to get to where I want to get to."

The pair's inclusion means there will be no dream hometown debuts for Will Sutherland and Jake Fraser-McGurk, with Matt Short to fly the flag for the Victorians at the MCG this afternoon in his first international match on Australian soil.

Off-spinner allrounder Short, who made his ODI debut in the three-match series against India last September before the World Cup, has been listed to bat at No.6, ahead of WA allrounder Aaron Hardie, who made his 50-over debut in South Africa in the series prior.

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World Cup-winning gloveman Josh Inglis – who tested positive to Covid prior to the series opener – has been given the first opportunity to replace Warner and will partner Head at the top of the order.

Inglis batted in the middle order during the World Cup after replacing Alex Carey who was dropped after the opening match, but he registered his maiden List A century in his last innings as an opener with an epic 138 from 110 balls for WA in last season's Marsh Cup final victory over South Australia.

Cameron Green will bat at three in the spot usually occupied by Allan Border Medal winner Marsh, with Smith and Labuschagne to resume their regular spots at four and five respectively.

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"We'll keep it consistent I suppose and with myself and 'Marn' (Marnus Labuschagne) at four and five like the World Cup and then we'll probably see some guys having an opportunity up top and mixing matching a little bit," Smith said.

"With the guys we've got in the squad, we've got some versatility there so it should be exciting."

Men's Dettol ODI Series v West Indies

February 2: MCG, 2.30pm AEDT

February 4: SCG, 2.30pm AEDT

February 6: Manuka Oval, Canberra 2.30pm AEDT

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), Travis Head (vc), Sean Abbott, Xavier Bartlett, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Lance Morris, Matt Short, Will Sutherland, Adam Zampa

West Indies ODI squad: Shai Hope (c), Alzarri Joseph, Alick Athanaze, Teddy Bishop, Keacy Carty, Roston Chase, Matthew Forde, Justin Greaves, Kavem Hodge, Tevin Imlach, Gudakesh Motie, Kjorn Ottley, Romario Shepherd, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr.

Men's Dettol T20I Series v West Indies

February 9: Blundstone Arena, Hobart 7.00pm AEDT

February 11: Adelaide Oval, 7pm AEDT

February 13: Perth Stadium, 7pm AEDT

Australia T20I squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Sean Abbott, Jason Behrendorff, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Short, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

West Indies T20I squad: Rovman Powell (c), Shai Hope, Johnson Charles, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Nicholas Pooran, Andre Russell, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Oshane Thomas