Motie impressive but Australia seal ODI series
Australia 258 for 9 (Abbott 69, Short 41, Motie 3-28) beat West Indies 175 (Carty 40, Abbott 3-40) by 83 runs
Sean Abbott starred on his home ground with a standout all-round display as Australia overcame tricky batting conditions at the SCG to take a 2-0 lead in the ODI series.
Abbott’s career-best 69 led a lower-order fightback for the home side, then, after it was West Indies’ spinners who caused the most problems, Australia’s quicks did the damage to the chase.
Abbott finished with 3 for 40 – his third wicket coming courtesy of a stunning catch by Cameron Green at midwicket – to go alongside his half-century and for good measure added two well-judged catches. Will Sutherland, one of two debutants for Australia, claimed his maiden international wicket by removing Romario Shepherd.
Josh Hazlewood, who was called up for this game as Australia managed their resources, showed his class with three scalps.
Australia had been 91 for 5 and later 167 for 7, as Gudakesh Motie claimed 3 for 28, when Abbott dominated the closing stages with Sutherland offering support in an innings-high stand of 57. Abbott’s final score was the joint fifth-highest for Australia from No. 8 and below in ODIs.
A number of Australia’s top order made starts without converting with four of the top seven falling between 26 and 41 before Abbott showed his prowess with a 54-ball half-century and struck consecutive sixes in the penultimate over before dragging on.
In the 20 overs between Motie and offspinner Roston Chase there were just two boundaries as the spinners proved tough to get away.
But Australia lost one of their spin resources for the second innings with Matt Short, who made 41, unable to field due to hamstring tightness. He was to be assessed in the coming days but must be doubtful for Canberra on Tuesday given the short turnaround.
It meant all of Australia’s spin would be in the hands of Adam Zampa, so the early inroads made by the quicks were important. Aaron Hardie was given the new ball and started with an excellent spell that included two maidens as he found late movement. He claimed the opening wicket when Alick Athanaze skied to mid-off where Abbott added to his impact on the game.
Hazlewood then had Justin Greaves taken by Sutherland at mid-off and when Abbott joined the wicket-taking, finding Kjorn Ottley’s edge, West Indies were 34 for 3. Captain Shai Hope and Keacy Carty, who played superbly at the MCG for 88, rebuilt for 13 overs before Hope was beaten by a ball from Hazlewood which kept low and smashed off stump. Soon after, Abbott struck again to end Carty’s promising stay with a thick edge to the keeper and things faded away.
Australia handed out debuts to world-record holder Jake Fraser-McGurk, who replaced Travis Head at the top of the order, and allrounder Sutherland.
Sutherland’s father James, the former Cricket Australia CEO, was at his cap presentation along with sister Annabel who had flown in early ahead of the rest of the Australia women’s squad to attend the game.
Xavier Bartlett and Lance Morris were rested after their debuts at the MCG with the selectors wary of there being three games in five days.
Fraser-McGurk’s first international innings was brief but not dull. He swiped and missed at his first ball, was beaten by the bounce from his second, clubbed his third straight of mid-on and launched his fourth into the second tier of the Bill O’Reilly Stand. With his fifth it was all over, as he edged Alzarri Joseph to the keeper.
Joseph had a second when Josh Inglis drove to backward point and when Steven Smith chopped on against Matthew Forde, Australia were 50 for 3 in the eighth over.
By then Green was up and running having played three sumptuous drives in consecutive deliveries against Joseph but having had his flying start pulled back he miscued to mid-on. In the next over Marnus Labuschagne drove Motie to cover to leave Australia 91 for 5 and more than 33 overs still to bat.
Short and Hardie, two of the less experienced players trying to forge their way in the one-day side, batted steadily in a sixth-wicket stand of 51.
Hardie was given a life on 18 when he reverse-swept to cover but Carty spilled the chance above his head. However, it didn’t prove costly as Hardie gave his innings away when he pulled Motie to long-on.
When Short also fell to Motie it was left to the lower order to nurse the innings through. Scoring was hard work for Sutherland, who was brilliantly caught at cover by Greaves, but Abbott cleared the fence three times in four overs with the first blow leaving a spectator needing treatment when he was struck in the pavilion. (ESPNcricinfo)