Another West Indies batting flop hands Australia series win
SUMMARY: Australia 153 for 4 (Wade 51*) beat West Indies 152 (Lewis 55*, Starc 3-43) by six wickets
Led by a collective bowling display from their quicks and spinners, then finished by Matthew Wade‘s half-century, a significantly depleted Australia took the ODI series against West Indies with a four-wicket victory in Barbados on a surface where batting was a challenge throughout.
Australia’s trio of spinners – the recalled Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa and Ashton Turner – shared five wickets with the tally matched by Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood as West Indies could only muster 152 having had the chance to bat first. Evin Lewis who returned after retiring hurt in the fourth over after a blow on the helmet, was the only batter to pass 18.
The chase wobbled to begin with and the spin of Akeal Hosein and Hayden Walsh Jr threatened to undo Australia’s good work in the field, but a calculated positive approach from Wade, Alex Carey and Mitchell Marsh paid dividends as the target was quickly whittled down despite the loss of wickets.
Marsh’s 29 off 21 balls with three sixes made considerable inroads until he fell in a Sheldon Cottrell over that cost 17 – a sizeable chunk of a small chase. When Carey was lbw on review against Walsh Jr it was 99 for 4 and West Indies still had a chance but Wade twice found the stands to finish the job with a 51-ball fifty.
Australia had all-but acknowledged they misread conditions in the previous match when they continued with a pace-heavy attack and made amends this time with the recall of Agar who had recovered from a hamstring injury.
He was one of three changes with Dan Christian brought back for his first ODI in seven years – and first List A match in four – after Ben McDermott’s ankle injury further stretched their resources with Aaron Finch out of the tour.
After Lewis had retired hurt under concussion protocols when he top-edged Starc into his helmet Hazlewood, who was rested for the second match, made the first breakthrough as the recalled Shimron Hetmyer dragged into his stumps.
Spin was introduced in the seventh over and proceeded to make major inroads. Shai Hope popped a catch to point when a delivery from Agar went through the top and Turner continued his handy role with the ball when Nicholas Pooran shouldered arms at one that went straight on and into off stump.
Darren Bravo had deposited one delivery from Agar straight for six but an attempted repeated ended in an ugly carve to point when he was defeated by a shorter length.
A return to pace brought reward straightaway when Starc struck with the first ball of his second spell, having Kieron Pollard caught cover as the West Indies captain paid the price for driving.
Lewis returned at the fall of the fifth wicket but soon lost Jason Holder when he played across the line at Zampa. While conditions were difficult, West Indies had a helping hand in a number of their dismissals
Lewis and Alzarri Joseph showed what was possible with a 44-run stand that mixed good defence with some occasional aggression but Hazlewood broke through with his first ball back when he found Joseph’s edge.
None of the lower could stay with Lewis long enough and towards the back-end of the innings the scoring dried to a trickle with Australia happy to bowl as much as possible to the tailenders and Lewis not farming the strike until Cottrell arrived.
Lewis brought up his fifty from 66 balls when he swung Zampa’s last delivery over deep midwicket for six, but it left Cottrell on strike to Starc. It took just one more ball and lifted Starc’s series tally to 11 wickets at 10.83.
Australia began in stuttering fashion with Moises Henriques, who has had a disappointing tour, was trapped lbw by Hosein the ball after a huge shout for a catch at short leg. It was something of a surprise that Henriques filled in for the injured McDermott at the top – just the fourth time he had opened in List A cricket – and he has missed his chance to make a claim for a longer run in the team.
Josh Philippe, too, has struggled to adapt to the pitches on this tour and glanced an edge down the leg side against Joseph in the eighth over.
Australia decided that prodding their way to the target would be fraught with danger and Marsh took it upon himself to hurry things along before gloving a pull down the leg side having taken 10 off two balls against Cottrell. Carey was busy at the crease, relying heavily on sweeps, and was dropped at short third man on 18 by Joseph off a reverse. A conventional sweep brought his downfall when Walsh Jr straightened one to take leg stump.
Knowing that West Indies’ two main spinners turned the ball the same away – Pollard had experimented with two overs of offspin – the left-handed Agar was sent in at No. 6 and alongside Wade it soon became a canter for Australia who have still not lost a bilateral one-day series against West Indies since 1995. (ESPNcricinfo)