Aussies seek to wrap up series

Hosts drop in-from Marsh to accommodate Khawaja

Australia have their eyes on regaining the top Test ranking as they set about retaining the Frank Worrell Trophy against the dispirited West Indies in Saturday's second Test in Melbourne.

The Australians lie third on the ICC Test ladder, behind South Africa and India.If South Africa lose their four-Test series with England which begins on Boxing Day then Australia will grab top spot if they can sweep the West Indies series 3-0.

That looks on the cards after the Windies were thrashed by an innings and 212 runs inside three days in the first Test in Hobart. They last won a Test in Australia almost 18 years ago.

Australia, meanwhile, droped top-order batsman Shaun Marsh despite scoring 182 in Hobart.

The 32-year-old Marsh and opener Joe Burns had reportedly been competing for one place in the side for the second Test with Usman Khawaja returning from a hamstring injury.

"There were lots of talks about it," Australia captain Steve Smith told reporters at the MCG ahead of the Boxing Day clash.

"Shaun is obviously really unlucky to miss out after a brilliant 180 in the last Test match and 49 under a bit of pressure in the Test before."

Khawaja had been expected to return to the side having been playing well before injuring his hamstring, scoring 174 and 121 against New Zealand. He then scored 109 not out in a domestic Twenty20 match on December 20 in his return to the field.

Jason Holder's West Indies have been pilloried as one of the worst touring teams to head Down Under in recent times and have struggled to be competitive in all their tour games, even against modest opposition.

Darren Bravo, one of the Caribbean tourists' few shining lights during the first Test, insists his side will be much better prepared for the Melbourne Cricket Ground showpiece on Boxing Day.

Bravo top scored with 108 in the West Indies' first innings, while opener Kraigg Brathwaite contributed 94 after Australia skipper Steve Smith enforced the follow-on.

"When you're not scoring runs it's always difficult to pick yourself up," Bravo said. "But I believe the guys have that sort of resilience in them.

"We've scored international hundreds already, we've proven we are definitely capable of playing at this level. The guys are really up for it. We're really pumped up ... we're much better prepared and we're looking forward to it."

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