Australia will head to England straight after the second Test in Jamaica next week, and will be hoping to arrive for the Ashes with a comfortable series victory under their belts.
England were held to a 1-1 draw in their series in the Caribbean earlier this year and Denesh Ramdin???s team are determined to pick up where they left off with their victory in Barbados.
The Aussies must do without their opener Chris Rogers, who was concussed when he was hit on the helmet by a local bowler in the nets on Sunday.
Shaun Marsh, who scored an impressive hundred in the tourists’ sole warm-up match against a West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI in Antigua, is expected to open the batting with David Warner.
The West Indies’ build-up to the series has been dominated by the omission of Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Chanderpaul, the lynchpin of the Windies batting for so many years, is just 87 runs away from surpassing Brian Lara as the most prolific West Indian batsman in the history of Test cricket.
But he had a poor series against England, and before that, away in South Africa, and the selectors look intent on investing in youth.
Rajindra Chandrika, like Chanderpaul a native of Guyana, looks likely to open the batting in his debut Test alongside Kraigg Brathwaite.
The 25-year-old is yet to score a hundred from 32 first-class matches and a modest batting average of 25.81. And he will be up against an Australia opening pair of Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc.
Fawad Ahmed is duelling with established off-spinner Nathan Lyon for the specialist slow bowler’s role on a pitch that offers very little assistance for the quicks.
Three years ago, Michael Clarke took 5-86 with his left-arm spin to bowl his team to a 75-run victory and 2-0 series triumph.
Australia, then under Mark Taylor, ended the West Indies’ 15-year reign of invincibility in Test series in 1995.
Since then, the visitors’ only hiccup in the Caribbean was in 1999 when Steve Waugh’s side claimed victory in the final Test to square the series 2-2 and retain the Frank Worrell Trophy despite the phenomenal batting exploits of Lara, who compiled contrasting hundreds in the last three Tests.