Starc (5-48) bowls Australia to commanding win over West Indies
SUMMARY: Australia 252-9 from 49 overs (Carey 67, Turner 49, Phillippe 39, Walsh Jr. 39, Joseph 2-40, Hosein 2-50) vs West Indies 123 all out in 26.2 overs (Pollard 56, Walsh Jr. 20, Starc 5-48, Hazlewood 3-11)
Australia cantered to victory in the first one-day international after a brilliant new-ball display from Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood decimated the West Indies in Barbados.
Destroyer in last week’s T20I series, Hayden Walsh Jr. once again bewitched the visiting batters in taking 5-12 from 16 balls in a clever death-bowling performance that restricted the Aussies to 252-9, with new skipper Alex Carey (67 off 87 balls) doing best with the bat.
But Starc (5-48) and Hazlewood (3-11) went on a rampage under lights at Kensington Oval, reducing the hosts to 27-6 to effectively decide the game inside the first eight overs of a run chase that was shifted to 49 overs (target 257) after a brief rain delay.
Only captain Kieron Pollard, who struck 56 off 57 in his first game back from a hamstring injury that sidelined him from the entire T20 series, offered any resistance as Australia routed the hosts for 123 to claim a 133-run win.
It marked West Indies’ third-largest runs defeat to Australia, and their biggest since 2008.
Missing the bulk of their regular ODI top-order, Australia stuttered through the opening stanza of the game before Carey and Ashton Turner (49 off 45) breathed life into the innings with a 104-stand for the fifth wicket.
It was a promising start to Carey’s career as captain, with regular skipper Aaron Finch sidelined with a knee complaint, as he struck two sixes on the way to an innings-high score after being elevated to number five.
Playing his first ODI in 18 months, Turner also impressed in what was a difficult task after his side’s lacklustre start and scored at better than a run-a-ball despite largely shelving his power game.
Starc’s terrific evening was capped with the wicket of Pollard, edging to slip as he went on to claim his eighth ODI five-wicket haul and his first since the 2019 World Cup.
The left-armer had earlier struck with the very first delivery of the innings, with Evin Lewis offering a simple return catch, to continue his incredible record at start of ODI innings; he has now claimed a wicket in the opening over 19 times since the start of 2015, which is 10 more times than the next most (Lasith Malinga, nine first-over wickets).
He then delivered a gem of an inswinger that clean-bowled number three Jason Mohammed.
Nicholas Pooran survived just two balls before Starc hit him on the pads, with the left-hander’s review showing the ball would have just clipped leg-stump.
Hazlewood meanwhile, hardly missed his mark in a typically metronomic display that saw him open his account with a terrific one-handed caught-and-bowled off Shimron Hetmyer, before having Darren Bravo and Jason Holder both out to simple catches.
The 30-year-old celebrated the wicket of Holder for a four-ball duck with particular vigour.
There was little do for the other bowlers; Adam Zampa (1-39 from 3.2 overs) took some tap from Pollard, Wes Agar (0-15 from six) made an encouraging debut while Mitch Marsh (1-7 from three) kept his strong form going by bowling the Windies’ second top-scorer, Alzarri Joseph, who made 17.
The absence of vice-captain Shai Hope with an ankle injury had weakened the Windies batting.
A 275-plus total had looked possible for Australia with Carey and Turner still at the crease with 10 overs to bat, yet Walsh delivered another match-turning spell following on from his player-of-the-series performance in the T20Is.
The leg-spinner, who was not even in the Windies’ original ODI squad, dismissed both set batters in the 45th over in a mesmerising spell right as the Aussies were looking to put the foot to the floor.
It was bold tactics from Pollard, who raised eyebrows by not bringing on his strike bowler until the 29th over but was vindicated as Walsh proved unhittable through the death overs.
Despite Australia’s comfortable victory, they will be eager to find a way to limit his effectiveness for the rest of the series given he has now taken 17 wickets (of which all but two have been recognised batters) at 10.53 in 30 overs during their tour of the Caribbean. (cricket.com.au)