Australia kicks off its Test summer today against the West Indies today.
Follow all the action from Perth in what is sure to be a fiery start to the series.
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN LANGER FACED AUSSIE STARS?
Steve Smith has greeted Justin Langer with an embrace as Australian players interact with their former coach before the first Test in Perth.
Langer was kicking a Sherrin footy with Australian stars Alex Carey and Marcus Harris when Smith came over to greet the former coach who has made headlines all week.
Smith and Langer shared a brief embrace before engaging in an extended chat where Smith appeared to explain to the coach about the freak hip injury scare he suffered earlier in the week.
It seemed a relaxed vibe out in the middle as young WA star Cameron Green, selector Tony Dodemaide and other Australian staff members came past to greet Langer.
Langer then made his way over to the middle where he greeted Nathan Lyon and then Australia’s now coach Andrew McDonald.
After a handshake, McDonald and Langer – who used to work together as a team – shared a brief chat before McDonald continued on with the team’s preparations.
Langer also shared an embrace with opener David Warner. The pair shook hands, shared a cuddle and then a lengthy chat at one end of the wicket.
Australian and West Indies players gathered to perform a Barefoot Circle in tribute to local Aboriginal people.
Players from both teams intermingled around the Walkabout Wickets banner laid out on the outfield, with an Aboriginal elder addressing players as they sat down together.
FOX CRICKET PRESENTER OUT WITH COVID
Star Fox Cricket presenter Isa Guha has come down with Covid and will miss the first Test match.
Guha is in Perth but won’t be able to attend the ground, and will be back on deck for the second Test in Adelaide.
KHAWAJA’S WARNING TO AUSTRALIA OVER BUMPY RIDE AHEAD
Usman Khawaja has urged Australia to squeeze the most out of their all-star Test team while they can … and then be prepared to cop a bumpy ride.
After starting his Test career following in the wake of the Shane Warne golden generation, and now one of Australia’s 36-year-old openers, Khawaja says experience has taught him you can’t finesse your way through a transition.
You just go hard, then you go home.
With he and David Warner entering their twilight at the top of the innings, Steve Smith not far behind and bowlers Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood all well into their 30s, Khawaja admits Australian cricket will inevitably face the jolt of an era ending in the coming years.
But Khawaja insists it’s pointless to try and choreograph retirements, and called on selectors to just let the process unfold naturally and in the meantime, try and capture lightning in a bottle.
“There’s definitely going to be a transition period, and I think you just have to accept that as an Australian international team,” said Khawaja.
“We’re probably always deemed to repeat the mistakes of our past, but I’ve been involved in Australian cricket so long I was involved in that initial transition. A lot of people have forgotten. I was involved with that.
“We couldn’t find a spinner. We went through four or five spinners. We thought our batting stocks had depleted. We couldn’t find batsmen apparently in Australia.
“People just need to realise we came off such a beautiful time in Australian cricket and these guys were experienced and had played for a long time.
“The thing is when guys get to that age you want to actually want to get as much out of them as you can because no matter what the transitional period, in my opinion (tough times) are going to happen.
“We have such high expectations for Australian cricket. But we saw what happened 10-15 years ago.
“We’re in a place now where we’ve played some really good cricket over the course of the last five, six or seven years in Test matches in particular, being the No. 1 team in the world too.
“The transition is just an inevitable part of the game that we just have to accept.”
Australian coach Andrew McDonald said in Sri Lanka earlier this year that he would like to avoid Khawaja and Warner bowing out of the game at the same point, as a means of easing in a rookie opener when the time comes.
“Will we have to be careful in terms of when they do go … 100 per cent,” said McDonald.
Captain Pat Cummins said on Tuesday that he agreed with Khawaja that transition was inevitable, but he’s confident the current core of the world’s No. 1 Test team will make it all the way through this summer and next year’s India and Ashes tours before retirements begin.
“It’s going to be inevitable at some point. In the next six or seven months we have got 15 Test matches, hopefully there won’t be any turn over before that but of course it is coming,” said Cummins.
“ … To be honest it is the most stable team I have played in ever. You could probably have picked the side 12 months ago, I feel like we are in a good spot.”
Originally published as Australia v West Indies: Follow all the action from the first Test in Perth