| Encouraged by an improvement in the condition of his ailing wife, Glenn McGrath is back to boost the Australian pace battery. (Reuters)
Bridgetown: After losing the first two Tests of the series to Australia, the West Indies face more problems in the third starting on Thursday as the tourists welcome back Glenn McGrath, one of the game’s finest fast bowlers.
McGrath sat out the opening two Test wins tending to his ill wife back in Sydney. But, encouraged by an improved diagnosis on her cancer problems, the 33-year-old pace spearhead is back to boost the Australian pace battery. “I think the way we are going it would be very hard for us to be beaten,” McGrath said. “I would probably be very disappointed if we don’t win the series 4-0.”
Australia won the first Test by nine wickets in Guyana and the second in Trinidad by 188 runs but captain Steve Waugh believes they can still improve.
“We have played excellent cricket so far but we can play better and this is a good opportunity to show people how good we are,” he said. “Our fielding could get better, we missed a couple of opportunities (in the second Test) and we need to be a bit more sharp in the field. That’s where we are looking to improve.”
Australia have yet to name their team but Waugh has already confirmed that McGrath will play. The Australian pacer has taken 422 wickets in 91 Tests and a combination of injury and family concerns has prevented him from playing for Australia in their last four Tests — the last two Tests of the home Ashes series and the two Tests here.
Meanwhile, Michael Holding believes tearaways Jermaine Lawson and Tino Best must play against the Australians. Holding said with Australia already possessing an unbeatable lead there was little to gain from denying the 21-year-old bowlers a chance.
“I think we have done very well in the batting department where we have brought in a lot of youngsters and they have shown promise and they have now started to produce,” he said.
“I think we now need to do the same thing with our bowling department, if we are losing with people who have been there for a long time and not showing any improvement, we might as well lose with the youngsters.”
Underlining the West Indian bowlers’ plight is that Australia have been bowled out only once in the series so far and won the Port-of-Spain Test on the strength of their fast-tempo scoring, racking up a total of 814 runs for the loss of just seven wickets.