Less than three weeks after their awesome triumph in the World Cup, Australia today return to the longer game in which they have been equally dominant.
Steve Waugh, at 37 considered too elderly for the demands of one-day cricket, resumes the captaincy, switching with Ricky Ponting, for the series of four Tests against the West Indies. It is the durable Waugh's 157th Test, carrying him past fellow Australian Allan Border as the most capped player in history.
Waugh is without three key men – fast bowler Glenn McGrath through his wife's illness, leg-spinner Shane Warne because of a drugs-related ban and Damien Martyn with a fractured finger – but, as they showed in the World Cup, Australia have strength in depth.
Waugh will once more be confronted by Brian Lara, who has been restored as West Indies captain in place of Carl Hooper three years after he quit the post, depressed by what he called "modest success and devastating failure".
Lara's task has been compounded by the piqued Hooper's late withdrawal from the team, a finger injury that has eliminated the exciting young batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan and the omission of established opener Chris Gayle, for reasons not properly explained.
The last time the teams met in the Caribbean, they drew the series 2-2.
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