Windies face new look Aus

SYDNEY, May 10 (Reuters) – Australia’s cricketers flew out of Sydney over the weekend bracing themselves for a tough tour of the West Indies.

The Australians are overwhelming favourites to win the three Tests and five one-day internationals but captain Ricky Ponting said the players were not expecting an easy time.

“I think they are starting to turn things around there a little bit better at the moment,” Ponting said.

“Their bowling attack probably in particular is definitely a lot stronger than the last time we played them in Tests.

“As always, they will pose a bit of a threat in their home conditions.

“But, in saying that, I think with some fresher faces around our group, as well as a bit of a change of personnel from the last Test game, I think it’s a really good opportunity for this team to keep forging its own identity.”

The series poses a new challenge for the Australians, who will be without Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist and Justin Langer who have all retired in the last 18 months.

Vice-captain Michael Clarke has opted to miss the start of the tour to remain in Australia with his fiancee Lara Bingle, while her father is ill.

The first Test, in Kingston, Jamaica, starts on May 22.

Ponting’s confident Photo: AP