sport

Warner injury blow for Australia

Australia received a blow ahead of the one-day series against West Indies as David Warner was ruled out of the first two matches.

Left-handed opening batsman Warner has suffered a thumb fracture.

The injury happened when the 26-year-old was struck on the hand by a delivery from Mitchell Johnson during a nets session at the WACA ahead of the first ODI in Perth on Friday (starts 3.20am GMT).

Usman Khawaja will come in as a replacement for the opening two games, with Warner's place on Australia's Test tour of India now in some doubt.

Cricket Australia physiotherapist Kevin Sims said: "David Warner was struck on the left thumb by Mitchell Johnson in the nets.

"While the fracture is very minor, it is not worth taking any risks.

"The injury will keep him out of at least the next two Commonwealth Bank Series matches against West Indies.

"We'll assess how he is progressing after that to determine his availability for the remainder of the series."

After struggling against Sri Lanka this summer in a drawn ODI series and two Twenty20 defeats, Australia will be keen to dominate West Indies in their own back yard.

The Windies lost their opening tour match yesterday against the Prime Minister's XI by 23 runs at the Manuka Oval in Canberra, falling just short of the 334-run target.

It was their only warm-up game ahead of the five match ODI series and T20 international, with opener Kieran Powell forced off the field with injury after making 92 from 97 balls.

However, Powell played down the seriousness of his retirement from the match ahead of the first showdown with Australia.

"It was precautionary measures that needed to be taken and there was no point risking it at this stage," Powell told ESPNCricinfo.

"I just had cramps but I was feeling very comfortable. It was tough initially but, once I had got in, I started to stroke it really well. It was not enough but we have lots of positives to take from this game."

And Powell believes the return of Chris Gayle will help his side to their first ODI win in Australia since January 1997, despite the batsman's poor form in the recent T20 Big Bash campaign for the winless Sydney Thunder.

"It's very important to spend time in the middle and get a good run and most of our team got to spend some time out there batting," Powell said.

"With Chris coming back, it definitely gives you confidence that we can go well. He struck some real form in the Caribbean in the Twenty20 and everyone knows what he is capable of, so to have him back in the team is only a plus for everyone.

"We know that in our team we have a lot of fire-power in the middle order, so we can take our time at the top and set it up for those at the bottom."

West Indies captain Darren Sammy knows a tough examination awaits from Australia, who are currently third in the International Cricket Council's ODI rankings, four places above his team.

"It will be competitive out here, that's for sure," Sammy said.

"I see it as a continuation of what happened in the Caribbean. We want to play hard, competitive cricket.

"It's always a challenge to play Australia anywhere in the world, but even more so in their own backyard. We believe we can come here and if we can execute our plans and play to our strengths, we can be successful.

"We have a lot of respect for Australia, you can never count Australia out. They're professionals and know how to dig themselves out of a hole.

"I expect it to be a hard-fought battle and we're looking to play it very hard."