West Indies v Australia ODIs - Men's
McDermott under a cloud, Agar and Christian in the mix
Australia could be without yet another frontline batsman for their series-deciding ODI against West Indies
Louis Cameron in Barbados
26 July 2021, 10:36 AM AEST
Australia could be down yet another batter for their series decider on Tuesday (AEST) with Ben McDermott emerging as the tourists' latest casualty, but Ashton Agar could return from a hamstring injury while Dan Christian is also in the mix for a shock recall.
With injured captain Aaron Finch on a plane home, McDermott will be sent for scans on his right ankle on the morning of the third ODI after injuring himself in dramatic fashion in the four-wicket loss to West Indies in Barbados on Sunday (AEST).
Playing in just his second ODI, McDermott attempted a leaping boundary-line catch and landed awkwardly on rain covers laid out just outside the field of play before falling onto a wooden advertising hoarding that gave way underneath him.
It took him some time to get back up and although he was eventually able to resume his place in the field, he pulled up sore the following day and wore a moon boot as a precaution.
The Aussies won't know if he is fit to play until medical staff see scans on the morning of the match, leaving the door open for the only other non-bowler in the squad, Christian, to play his first List A game in four years.
Australia are already without five of their leading six ODI run scorers from the past 12 months, with the injured Finch joining tour absentees Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne.
Christian is a 38-year-old T20 specialist who has not played any 50-over cricket in nearly four years, while he played the last of his 19 ODIs way back in 2014.
"He offers a lot of experience," said stand-in skipper Alex Carey. "We might talk about him not playing one-day cricket for a while but there's a wealth of knowledge, he's played a lot of cricket.
"He's playing lots of cricket at a high level. We have still got options."
Given the travel and bio-security complexities of the tour, Australia are not able to call for reinforcements to replace injured players.
Agar has not played since tweaking a hamstring while fielding during the T20I series against the Windies.
He could return to play as an allrounder and bat in the top seven, a role he has impressed in at domestic level for Western Australia and has experience in for Australia in T20s.
The left-hander last batted in the ODI top order in 2018.
The impact of his fellow left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein and leggie Hayden Walsh in the first two ODIs, combined with the fact the third ODI will be played on the same pitch as the second, will only enhance Agar’s case for a recall, if fit.
Carey suggested the lower-order salvation mission in game two led by Agar's brother Wes (who hit 41, the second highest ODI score by an Australian No.10) along with Mitchell Starc and Adam Zampa could prompt the Aussies to field a longer tail.
"Ashton's batting has been brilliant while we've been over here, in terms of his preparation,” he said. “He's always wanting to score more runs.
"We saw with the job Starc did yesterday, we saw the job (Wes) Agar did yesterday and Zampa did yesterday … in these conditions anyone can fill a role and do a good job of it.
"Seeing what the spin impact was not only last game, but in the first (game) … he’s is definitely an option and someone we're looking at."
The lack of available batting options comes after just two of Australia's top six reached double digits in the second ODI; Josh Philippe scored 16 while Carey made 10.
The undermanned Aussies did however score 9-252 in their crushing series-opening win, with Carey (67) and Ashton Turner (49) both impressing on a Kensington Oval surface that the Windies were skittled for 123 on.
Their top-order play against spin came under the microscope after Saturday's defeat, however, after Hosein removed Carey, Turner and Moises Henriques in the space of three balls to leave the Aussies at 6-45.
That came after leg-spinner Walsh took a five-wicket haul to limit the Aussies in the first ODI, playing an unusual role of bowling almost unchanged through the final 20 overs of the innings.
"There has been a bit of discussion about playing spin better," Adam Zampa told cricket.com.au.
"Losing early wickets doesn't help and the left-arm spinner (Hosein) bowled really well.
"'Kezza' (Carey) may have played over the top of one, which can happen but which he doesn't usually do. 'AT' (Turner) got a ripper of a ball.
"Towards the back end of the innings we milked the spinners a bit better, trying to get through their spells … We’ve got one more opportunity to apply ourselves a bit better."
Qantas Tour of the West Indies 2021
Australia squad: Ashton Agar, Wes Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (vc for ODIs), Dan Christian, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade (vc for T20Is), Adam Zampa. Travelling reserves: Nathan Ellils, Tanveer Sangha.
West Indies ODI squad: Kieron Pollard (c), Shai Hope (vc), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Anderson Phillip, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd
T20 series: West Indies won 4-1 (all matches at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, St Lucia)
First T20: West Indies won by 18 runs
Second T20: West Indies won by 56 runs
Third T20: West Indies won by six wickets
Fourth T20: Australia won by four runs
Fifth T20: West Indies won by 16 runs
ODI series (all matches at Kensington Oval, Barbados)
First ODI: Australia won by 133 runs
Second ODI: West Indies won by four wickets
Third ODI (D/N): July 27, 4.30am AEST (July 26, 2.30pm local)