Aussie cricketers take a knee in staggering first on home soil

David Warner is pictured taking a knee, with a West Indies playing doing the same in the background.
Australia's cricket team took a knee on home soil for the first time since the gesture was established back in 2020, something the West Indies have done before every game since. (Photo by Quinn Rooney - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

The Australian men's Test team has taken a knee in solidarity with the West Indies prior to the first Test in Perth getting underway, marking the first time the first time the side has participated in the anti-racism gesture on home soil.

Many sporting teams around the world began taking a knee prior to the beginning of sporting contests after widespread protests erupted in America back in 2020, following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin.

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The team has previously participated in the gesture during the T20 World Cup in Dubai, as well as when touring the island nations in 2021. Wednesday gesture was the first time the side has taken a knee on home soil.

The gesture was met with applause from the smattering of fans at Optus Stadium who were in attendance for the first ball to be bowled in the series when it began in Wednesday morning, WA time.

The West Indies, who have taken a knee prior to every one of their international fixtures since July 2020, joined the Australian team in standing barefoot in a circle to pay respects to the traditional Indigenous owners of the land.

In addition to fans at the ground, Australia's taking of the knee was also appreciated by West Indian cricketing legend Michael Holding, who had previously said it was 'lame' that neither Australia nor England participated in the gesture back in 2020.

"Whatever you do you will never please everybody but if you do the right thing, nobody should be afraid of doing the right thing, and nobody should be afraid of the truth, you will always find people against you, but you don't worry about that. When you do the wrong thing you worry about people that are against you," Holding told Wide World of Sports.

"What we need to do is ensure those detractors are pushed into the margins so whatever they say and do becomes more and more insignificant, and [encourage] people who continue to do the right thing to educate more and more people so more and more people will see and do the right things.

"Once you do the right thing you can go to bed feeling comfortable and with nothing on your conscience."

Aussies opt to bat first against West Indies on lively Perth pitch

Australia have won the toss and will bat first in the opening Test of the summer against West Indies in Perth.

Captain Pat Cummins showed no hesitation on an Optus Stadium wicket with plenty of grass left on the wicket to counteract the heat.

Australia have stuck with their regular XI, Josh Hazlewood returning to the side after an injury-interrupted 2021-22 followed by stints on the sideline on the sub-continent.

The Perth Test marks the first of nine for Australia in the space of three months at home and in India, as they push for a spot in the World Test Championship final.

Australia and West Indies cricketers took part in a Barefoot Circle ceremony to acknowledge tradition Indigenous owners of the land prior to the first Test in Perth. (Photo by Quinn Rooney - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)
Australia and West Indies cricketers took part in a Barefoot Circle ceremony to acknowledge tradition Indigenous owners of the land prior to the first Test in Perth. (Photo by Quinn Rooney - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

"There might be a little bit in (the wicket), but we're going to back our batters in," Cummins said at the toss.

"Every series is big, but this has an extra carrot for us (with the Test Championship).

"We missed out last time, and hopefully with a few more wins we'll secure our spot."

West Indies will debut the son of former captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul, with 26-year-old Tagenarine to open the batting.

The tourists fast-bowling attack looms as their biggest weapon, with Alzarri Joseph the spearhead and assistance likely to be on offer early.

However they have lost allrounder Raymon Reifer to a groin injury for the entirety of the series.

AUSTRALIA: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (capt), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

WEST INDIES: Kraigg Brathwaite (capt), Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Nkrumah Bonner, Jermaine Blackwood, Kyle Mayers, Jason Holder, Joshua Da Silva, Roston Chase, Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales.

With AAP

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