Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke ahead of the One Day International game against the West Indies at Manuka Oval on Wednesday. Photo: Graham Tidy GGT
One look at the Manuka Oval pitch and some inside knowledge from Brad Haddin have convinced Australian skipper Michael Clarke the winless West Indies are going to be difficult to contain on the flat surface.
In stark contrast to the prodigious bounce and swing which brought the Windies undone at the WACA Ground, the ideal batting conditions in Canberra are sure to deliver another run feast for the Australian team's inaugural visit to the national capital.
Wednesday's one-day international is 100 years in the making, but the Windies are desperate to crash the party in front of the sell-out 11,000-strong crowd and keep the best-of-five series alive after consecutive losses in Perth.
Clarke arrived in Canberra on Tuesday to be greeted by a pitch which generated more than 600 runs in last week's Prime Minister's XI game.
The Windies ended up on the wrong side of the ledger despite scoring more than 300, with Clarke consulting veteran wicketkeeper Haddin, who played in the game and learnt his trade in Canberra.
''Hads obviously knows these conditions really well and I think I learnt a lot just looking at it today,'' Clarke said. ''It probably suits batting a little bit more.
''When you don't have to worry about as much pace and bounce in the wicket it allows you to play [with more freedom] at the start of your innings.''
Promoters will be praying the tourists can put up a better effort than they produced in their back-to-back losses in Perth.
Another victory to the hosts will deliver Australia an unassailable 3-0 series lead and suck all life out of the remaining two games.
Big guns Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard have yet to fire in the series for the Windies, scoring just eight runs and one run respectively in the opening two games.
''As we've seen with the West Indies team, they've got a lot of talent and we've seen that in patches this series,'' Clarke said.
''So far we've managed to keep their big players pretty quiet, which is going to be important again tomorrow for us to have success.
''But we know if the likes of Gayle and Pollard get in, they're very hard to stop.''
With the exception of injured opener David Warner, Australia has named a full-strength 13-man squad including all-rounder Shane Watson, who will return to the international arena for the first time since breaking down with a calf injury while bowling in the Boxing Day Test.
Watson will be restricted to batting, but Clarke is hopeful it's only a temporary change.
''I would really like Shane to be an all-rounder, it's been his greatest asset to our team,'' Clarke said.
''When he's at the top of his game with the bat and he's not bowling, he's still in our best six batters in all three forms of the game, but he needs to be at the top of his game.
''Everyone including Shane hopes that if he gets back into his batting and he's scoring runs he can slowly get back into his bowling as well.''
Both sides will finalise their teams on Wednesday morning, but the West Indies are likely to welcome back paceman Andre Russell from injury.
As for whether Clarke wants more international games in Canberra, that all depends on what happens out in the middle.
''As long as I don't get a duck,'' he laughed.
''I just bought a place in Berrima with my wife, so I call myself half a local to Canberra.''